This movie trashes traditional religion, patronizes the Midwest, squeezes laughs out of a dying dog and a sick old woman, scorns marriage and romance and bashes men gleefully. Yet it buys into the notion that angels might really exist.
Travolta, who displays his gift for irony and whimsy, plays an unorthodox angel--a paunchy slob with moth-eaten wings who smokes, hits the bottle and chases women, even as he is on some unspecified angelic assignment in Iowa. Director Nora Ephron shows the humor and power of Michael by having Travolta, perform his Pulp Fiction dance to Aretha Franklin's "Chain of Fools." In fact, most of the script, by Ephron, her sister Delia and others, displays ingenuity, grace, wit and taste.
Hurt, MacDowell, and Pastorelli play cynical tabloid reporters hunting down the hapless angel. The venerable Jean Stapleton offers bright moments as the rambunctious motel owner who discovers Travolta's powers.
Repeat watching will uncover thought provoking subtleties. And of course laughs at our favorite parts--'Lines? I invented lines. Before that people were just walking around'.-- 'Pies, everybody loves pie'.