It’s exciting to see Shyamalan on such confident footing once more, all these years later.
“Oh, God! Book II” qualifies as a sequel only because of its title and the irreplaceable presence of George Burns in the title role. Otherwise, it seems to have lost faith in the film it's based on. It begins with the same great idea for a movie (what would happen if God personally came down to earth and got involved in the affairs of men?), but it winds up as a third-rate situation comedy, using its subject as a gimmick.
Neither of the “Oh, God!” movies is, of course, seriously
religious; they create God as a sort of ancient Will Rogers on a Christmas card
by Norman Rockwell, and then give him lots of cute lines and paradoxical comic insights.
But the original film, with God appearing to a supermarket manager played by
John Denver, did at least follow through on its basic premise. What if God
really did turn up in the checkout line? How do you behave when God blows the
whistle and challenges you to test his rules?
“Oh, God! Book II” doesn't seem willing to devote a whole movie to the same subject; it uses God as basically just a deus ex machina. He is, of course, enormously appealing, and George Burns is rich and understated in the role. But after he appears to a little girl named Tracy (played by a very little actress named Louanne), the movie uses him as a springboard for scenes involving the little girl, her parents, her school, her psychiatrist, everything except what we'd really enjoy, more scenes with God.
Tracy's basic problem, it appears, is that she can see God and talk with him, but nobody else can. Her parents and teachers think she's talking to herself. God asks her to organize an advertising campaign to promote his image on earth, and she comes up with a slogan ("Think God") which her little play-mates plaster on every open space in town. But, meanwhile, a psychiatrist (Anthony Holland) determines that Tracy's got serious problems.
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