Oh, God! (1977)

OH, GOD! (1977)
Article 3420 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 11-13-2010
Posting Date: 12-25-2010
Directed by Carl Reiner
Featuring John Denver, George Burns, Teri Garr
Country: USA
What it is: Deity comedy

God appears to an assistant manager of a grocery store and recruits him to spread a message to the people of the world. The assistant manager soon finds himself in over his head in dealing with the repercussions of fulfilling his task.

I think the best thing about this comedy is the casting of George Burns in the title role; his graceful aging and gentle comic persona make for a very approachable and likable deity. I think another aspect that also helped was that George Burns developed a style that made his joke-telling simple, straightforward and easy, and these also lend themselves to bringing this role to life. The movie was quite popular, if I remember right, and spawned two sequels, but this is one of those movies I wish didn’t have sequels; what works as a one-time idea loses its appeal when turned into a franchise. The other performers do a decent job, and I can’t help but notice that Teri Garr must have had a real workout playing housewives who suspect their husbands are going crazy; she also appeared in the same type of role in CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND. One of the big surprises I had this time is how many well-known actors appear in the movie in very abbreviated roles; Donald Pleasence gets fourth-billing and has only one line, and you don’t see much of Jeff Corey or Barry Sullivan either. In the end, I find myself really liking the movie, though I think it may be a little too simplistic for its own good, but then, that was probably one of the reasons it was so popular. And I will say this much; if God exists and is anything like George Burns is here, I wouldn’t have any objections to believing in him.


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