Michael (John Travolta, in his ``people just love me'' mode) is an angel who, we are told, lives at a run-down motel in the Midwest. He attracts the attention of a tabloid publisher (Bob Hoskins), who sends a team (William Hurt, Robert Pastorelli and Andie MacDowell) to investigate.
There is much at stake for Hurt's character, a cynical reporter at the end of his professional rope, and for MacDowell's character, an oft-divorced flake who's almost given up on love. Their search for the truth about Michael - surprise, surprise - turns into a search for the truth about their own lives, with poor Pastorelli along for comic relief.
``Michael'' is a comedy about the problems of middle age. The movie's title character is a baby boom angel, and it isn't just his physique and his taste in music that give him away. Michael is essentially a therapist, helping Hurt and MacDowell sort out their personal problems, which turn out to be petty and uninteresting.
Also uninteresting is Michael - certainly not as funny or charming as the movie thinks he is. Travolta's increasingly messianic persona has become alarming, and someone needs to tell him he's done his ``Pulp Fiction'' jukebox-dancing shtick one too many times.
The story for ``Michael'' is credited in part to former Daily News columnist Pete Dexter, though the final screenplay credit is shared with director Nora Ephron and her sister Delia, who appear to have given ``Michael'' a sugary makeover.
MICHAEL * Produced by Sean Daniel, Nora Ephron and James Jacks, directed by Nora Ephron, music by Randy Newman, written by Nora Ephron, Delia Ephron, Pete Dexter and Jim Quinlan, distributed by New Line Cinema.
Running Time: 105 minutes
Michael - John Travolta
Dorothy Winters - Andie MacDowell
Frank Quinlan - William Hurt
Vartan Malt - Bob Hoskins
Huey Driscoll - Robert Pastorelli
Judge Newberg - Teri Garr
Pansy Milbank - Jean Stapleton
Parents Guide: PG
Showing at: Area theaters