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Movie Review

Dear God

Reviewed by: Dale Mason

Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Older teens and adults
112 min.
Year of Release:

Starring: Greg Kinnear, Laurie Metcalf, Tim Conway, Maria Pitillo | Director: Garry Marshall

Surprise! The title of this comedy (“Dear God”) is an earnest plea, not a profane exclamation. To my delight, this film was an enjoyable, generally positive experience.

Though it doesn’t quite hit on all cylinders in terms of its comedic elements, its sputters are soft enough that even a critic such as myself found little to scorn in this film …provided that the age guidelines are heeded.

In his first starring role ever, and only his second feature film, former late night television talk host Greg Kinnear plays the part of a down on his luck con man who is “sentenced” by a very pragmatic judge to 1 year of work—the real kind of work where a person actually earns a paycheck. He ends up in the “Dead Letter” department of the Los Angeles Post Office; a boring, out of the way place where nothing changes and everyone is more than a little strange.

Kinnear’s unintentional act of kindness to one “Dear God” letter writer enlivens his co-workers, who eventually enlist and assist Kinnear in numerous additional acts because, “God can always use a little help.” The employees' letter-reading is illegal, however, and eventually results in a courtroom scene (reminiscent of the climax in “Miracle on 34th Street”) where Kinnear must defend his actions against the big bad postal service.

“Dear God” is a feel-good comedy. Though it includes some confusing messages about God, the clergy is depicted as sincere overall. It shows “conning” as wrong while encouraging brotherly kindness and good deeds. I guess the aspect that I appreciated most about this film was its soft reminder that many, many people still turn to God, especially in times of crisis. And it is nice to see ordinary, working class people who are anxious to help others in need.

No sex or inferred sexual situations, but the film does include a sprinkling of profanity and provocatively clothed women (especially a downright funny series of scenes which include a young female reporter in a rather tight dress).

Viewer Comments
I saw this movie a year ago and have rented it again several times more. It has a great plot (which is not at all disrespectful to God), good acting, and it shows that helping people can be very rewarding. Even though there was some cussing (probably under 8 words), I think one sexual reference, and quite a bit of lying due to the fact that the main character starts out as a con artist, the fact that the whole movie is about helping others and putting others needs in front of yours makes this movie worth seeing. Summary: Great movie, good plot, low on profanity, and no sex, nudity, or violence.
—Toby Bassen
I thought this movie was really funny and worth paying money to see. When I asked my dad if we could rent it the first time he wasn’t so sure. He is a very strong Christian and he thought it would be offensive to God, but he took a chance and found the movie to be a great one! Since then we’ve rented it 5 more times we can’t get over how funny Tim Conway (who plays the crazy mail man who bit a dog!) is in that movie. If you haven’t seen this movie what are you waiting for? Go see it now!
—Samantha, age 12
I noticed some thinly veiled, ambiguous, innuendos of a sexual nature. My two friends missed them. I wouldn’t take kids younger than 14-16 to this movie, although I enjoyed watching it for some carefree laughing. I was surprised that it was as good as it was—just fun to watch the very funny characters they had concocted for the movie.
—Kathie Robinson, age 48
I really liked the movie. I thought that it was a nice change from most of the new movies. It showed how people can really care for each other and do good things to help people out. Just like Jesus would have…
—Gail Harris, age 37
I thought Tim Conway stole the movie. It’s good to see him back. Greg K. is capable of more. The elements were there, just not quite stirred enough.
—Michael Wade, age 35