CRITICIZING Paul Hogan is akin to the cold-hearted task of telling an awkward teen-ager that his fly is down. Hogan just seems so darn nice that it's hard to warn movie-goers about the danger of spending money to see his latest film, "Almost an Angel." But someone should.
After starring in "Crocodile Dundee" and its successful sequel, Paul Hogan is apparently satisfied with the $600 million the films brought in worldwide anyway, so why would he need another box office hit? Hogan, who served as writer and executive producer for "Almost an Angel," recently told a Dallas reporter that he had "seen the moist eyes at the end of the film during preview showings, and that's a good enough sign for me."
Someone should clue him in that the tears he saw were probably not for the weepy, dopey finale of this film, but were actually the aftereffects of a gaping yawn.
The famous "No worries, mate" expression and his endearing smile brought movie-goers out in droves to see Hogan as Crocodile Dundee, but as bank robber Terry Dean in "Angel," he only comes off as Crocodile Dundee trying to be bank robber Terry Dean. Hogan is just too nice to be believable as a burglar.
Dean's penchant for stealing has landed him in jail, but the only lesson Dean learned was, "Don't get caught."
Following his release from prison, he promptly dons a Willie Nelson disguise and robs another bank. This time, though, he uses a remote control device that changes the channel on a closed-circuit television (I won't ask how that's possible) and gets away with the loot.
In a twist of fate, the career criminal suddenly puts himself in the path of an oncoming car to save a young boy's life. While Dean is in the hospital, he dreams of being visited by God (played by Charlton Heston -- which is in itself the biggest joke of the movie). God tells Dean to be an angel of mercy (more along Hogan's lines). But he's only a probationary angel, because of his criminal past. He then gives most of the money to charity, reads the Bible and begins a bumbling path toward salvation.
Well, we have a reasonably cute premise here for a cutesy, Christmasy movie. But what we end up with is a slow-moving snoozer that has the tone of a good joke being told by a bad comedian.
For tongue-wagging male fans of Linda Kozlowski (Hogan's real-life wife), there are no designer clothes or thong bathing suits (as she wore in the "Dundee" films) for her role as frumpy Rose Garner. But even looking decidedly unglamorous, Kozlowski exudes a captivating presence. Unfortunately, the bulk of the stupendously bad ending falls on her performance, and it is only her skill as an actress that carries it off.
Almost an Angel
The crooked go straight in a yarn concocted by Paul ("Crocodile Dundee") Hogan.
Rated PG. Playing at the Holiday 6, Maple Ridge 8 and McKinley 6 theaters.