It’s exciting to see Shyamalan on such confident footing once more, all these years later.
I don't know about you, but I think that coming back from the dead should be a really big deal. And by making it into a little deal, the occasion for safe and predictable little laughs, "Hello Again" blows a great comic opportunity.
Meditate for a moment on the possibilities in the modern-day resurrection of the klutzy wife of a social-climbing plastic surgeon. Imagine what the supermarket tabloids would say, not to mention Jim and Tammy Bakker, not to mention the pope, not to mention Johnny Carson. Imagine what a person with a healthy sense of humor could do with a situation like that. Just for openers, you could reveal what happened to Jimmy Hoffa.
There are the makings of a great comedy here, but you will not find more than scattered hints of it in "Hello Again," a movie that fails to pay off on so many opportunities that the whole film feels like an anticlimax. The story stars Shelley Long as the sweet but clumsy wife of Corbin Bernsen, the plastic surgeon. One day she chokes to death and is buried and mourned and then basically forgotten by all but her sister and her son.
The sister (Judith Ivey) runs the local occult bookstore, and in a quaint volume of forgotten lore she discovers a black magical incantation that can raise the dead. There are two catches: The ceremony must be performed exactly one year after the person has died, and the newly resurrected person must find true love within 30 days or die again. By the light of a circle of scented candles, Ivey reads from the old book, and Long materializes out of a vapor and perches on a tombstone.