It’s exciting to see Shyamalan on such confident footing once more, all these years later.
The plot of "Mr. Destiny" has been borrowed from unimpeachable sources. It's based on the same notion that worked in "It's a Wonderful Life," and a century earlier in the story of Scrooge as retailed by Charles Dickens in "A Christmas Carol." It involves an ungrateful man being taken on a guided tour of his life, and seeing some of the other ways it could have turned out.
The tour guide can be a guardian angel, or perhaps the ghost of Christmas past, present or future. This time it's a bartender, a genial soul in an obscure tavern in an unfamiliar part of town. A businessman named Larry (James Belushi) wanders into the bar after his car breaks down, and he's in a mood to grumble to the bartender about the way his life is turning out. It all started to go wrong, he moans, when he was the last man at bat in the final game of the state baseball championship, and he struck out. If only he had belted that last pitch out of the park, he believes, everything would have been different, and better.
The bartender listens and nods and pours him another drink, and because business is slow (Larry is the only customer this particular bar may ever have), he does the poor guy a favor: He puts his life on fast-reverse, lets him hit the winning run, and then shows him how things would have turned out. The bartender is probably God, I suppose.
Michael Caine plays him like a guy who happens to be omnipotent and doesn't mind doing a favor for a stranger.