A Fantasy Comedy That’s Heavenly: 'Date With an Angel' Retrospective
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Sometimes Love Falls Out the Sky
There’s something that’s always disturbed me. Why do you only hear about male angels in the bible? Where are all the female angels? While this had always been on my mind, a film I saw recently brought the question out further. The film is called Date with an Angel, a fantasy comedy which came out in 1987 and was directed by Tom McLoughlin.
Date with an Angel’s plot revolves around Jim Sanders, a business executive who’s recently engaged to his boss’s spoiled daughter boss Patty. After a bachelor party, he finds a female angel unconscious in his pool. With one of her wings broken, Jim decides to take care of her and shield her from the outside world. As the film progresses, Jim begins loosing feelings for Patty and finds himself falling for the angel.
Personally, I can’t recall the cast in many other films. However, they are a diverse group who matches the comedic tone of the film. Michael E. Knight plays Jim Sanders, a man recently engaged to his boss’s daughter. He suffers from constant headaches and is somewhat reserve. He’s very down to earth but acts accordingly to certain situations. He’s visually surprised when he first discovers the angel but quickly becomes protective of her. He keeps her out of sight to avoid outsiders exploiting her for selfish reasons. A bit of comedy stems from his reactions to being caught up in circumstances he doesn’t want to be a part of.
The titular angel is played by Emmanuelle Béart. Obviously she’s the most interesting part of the film. Many of her scenes shows her glowing with a white light to emphasize her angelic nature. She definitely shines on screen both literally and figuratively. While she doesn’t speak, besides making chirping noises, she ironically understands English.
Personally, one character who I found very annoying was Patty, played by Phoebe Cates. She’s a large ham who constantly screams at Jim, jumps to conclusions, and refuses to listen to reason. Despite being Jim’s fiancée she's pretty much the film’s antagonist who’s obviously very spoiled and not sympathetic in any way.
Other characters in the film were Jim’s three friends, George, Don, and Rex, played by Phil Brock, Albert Macklin, and Peter Kowanko respectively. They provide much of the comedy in the film, though once they find out about the angel they attempt to take her from Jim and make money off of her, making them secondary antagonist. Like Patty, they too became annoying at times, but were somewhat likable due to their comedic nature.
The film felt somewhat paint by the numbers. I don’t want to say it was predictable, but it felt obvious. Jim spends the first part of the film taking care of the angel and keeping her out of sight. When he does take her out the house he keeps her covered either in awkward-looking baggy clothing or wrapped in a blanket. The angel doesn’t know a thing about human culture so she acts awkwardly when out in public. The thing is she felt like a cliché angel, the stereotypical white robed winged angels with long curly hair. It would had helped if she had different traits than what most people portray angels in the media, such as no wings or a different outfit. Yeah Jim does dress her up when taking her out in public, but she should had worn something original in her introduction other than the same white robes other angels wears in films.
On another personal note, my favorite scene was at the Wendy’s parking lot where a good chunk of the comedy comes into play. It reveals that the angel is afraid of hamburgers, but gains a love of French fries. As she gorges on fries and Jim steps away his friends appear and attempt to bait her with more fries. Jim returns to get rid of them in a very awkward but comedic scene.
Patty’s just a selfish nuisance. She often fusses at Jim for ridiculous reasons. At one point she sees the angel with Jim and assumes that they’re sleeping together. When Jim attempts to explain she brushes him off without a second thought. She screams and over reacts which made her character very unlikable.
Jim’s character felt standard, but I felt that he could have used a bit more personality other than when someone’s trolling him. He is noble and likable, protecting the angel as best as he can but still putting up with the nonsense his fiancé and friends put him through. There is a subplot involving him that becomes relevant later on which reveals the real reason why the angel appeared.
Overall, while I thought the film was good, at the time of its release Date with an Angel wasn’t well received and probably still isn’t. It may not leave a lasting impact on those who seek more in-depth romance stories. I will say that the film fits in the same category of the magical girlfriend concept, such as the television shows Bewitched and I Dream of Jeannie. If you like lighthearted fantasy romance stories with a dash of comedy, you may get a kick out of it.
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