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Heart and Souls has just that: a heart and a soul

Heart and Souls

Heart and Souls is one of the sweetest, most original story ideas for a romantic comedy. I'm not sure if it is just a romantic comedy, but that's what I'm going to call it because it was romantic, and comedic (I wonder how I came up with that assumption...). This movie sort of takes off of the Field of Dreams premise, and although that was a better movie, Heart and Souls is usually hilarious, and this movie seems to have inspired several TV show, such as "Touched By An Angel."

Heart and Souls begins with a short telling of four different characters. One is a thief and small-time criminal (Tom Sizemore), another is a mother of three kids (Alfre Woodard), the third is a waitress who is afraid of committment (Kyra Sedgwick), the fourth is a singer who is afraid to sing in front of people (Charles Grodin). All of them just happen to get on the same bus during the same night. The driver is a little caught up watching an act of foreplay in a passing car, and the bus crashes off a bridge. All the passengers and driver die, but the four passengers are swept away and get stuck to a baby who was born at the exact same time.

Only Thomas (Eric Lloyd) can see the four ghosts, and so his parents and teachers believe that he needs therapy. Because of this, the four people decide to "become invisible" so they don't influence Thomas any further. Many years later, Thomas (Robert Downey Jr.) has grown up and has become a successful businessman. He has forgotten about his friends, and has acknowledged the ghosts as hallucinations.

The bus driver who was driving when it crashed has now been assigned to pick up souls for 500 years. He comes to pick up the four souls, and he tells them that they were supposed to use Thomas in order to finish their business that would have made their lives complete. Unfortunately, they were never told about this, and so they only have a few hours to complete their lives. But before they can do anything, they have to reappear and make Thomas believe in them again.

The rest of the movie is very sweet and very funny, especially during one hilarious scene where the ghosts find out they can take his body over. Robert Downey Jr. must have had a fun time making this movie, along with the rest of the stars. Kyra Sedgwick has always been one of my favorite actresses, and she is very good in this movie. Alfre Woodard is very good and provides most of the emotion scenes in the movie. Tom Sizemore is quite good as the thief turned ghost. Charles Grodin provides one of the best scenes in the movie... actually, it's Grodin IN Downey. Elisabeth Shue isn't as good as she was in Leaving Las Vegas, but she is mainly there just for a Downey to have a love interest whose relationship parallels Sedgwick's and her boyfriend's. But it is Downey who shines, especially in the scene where Grodin takes him over (I wonder if that was his real voice).

Heart and Souls is rated PG-13 for brief profanity, one sexy scene, and light violence. Most people should enjoy this movie, even teenagers. It's a delight to see such a good cast put to good use, and they all work well together. In fact, the best sequence in the entire movie is when Downey and the ghosts walk down the sidewalk dancing and singing "Walk Like A Man." After watching this movie, I couldn't get the song out of my head for a couple days. Almost the way I couldn't get "It's A Small, Small, World" after riding the ride at Disneyland...but not quite as annoying.

***1/2 out of ****

Reviews by Boyd Petrie
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