Moral Messages, Comedy Make Holy Man re-issue worth one watch

Caravan Pictures/Touchstone Pictures/Mill Creek Entertainment

Life is short, people.  Life is short.  We spend so much of our lives focused on materialism, our religious differences, and personal advancement.  We’re so focused on these distractions, that we lose sight of what’s really important.  What’s really important is the people and the world around us.  That’s the message behind the 1998 movie, “Holy Man.”  That message makes “Holy Man” stand out in the comedy genre.  Sadly, it also may be why it didn’t d too well at the box office.  Maybe people simply didn’t get this message, and simply saw it as just another forgettable buddy comedy, thanks to Eddie Murphy and Jeff Goldblum.

It is true that one of the biggest plot holes to this story is that there’s no explanation behind where G came from or where his journey.  But maybe that’s beside the point.  Where one is going in life or where one came from isn’t nearly as important as the impact that one has one those around oneself at each stage of one’s life.  Given his standard character type, Jeff Goldblum was a good choice for the role of Ricky.  Sure, casting Goldblum was typecasting.  But somehow, his chemistry with Eddie Murphy worked.  It could be argued that this was actual a sort of take on A Christmas Carol, if one delved deep enough into the relationship between G and Ricky.  Instead of having three ghosts visit him, Ricky was visited by a single “spirit” who made him realize the path on which his life was moving.  As G and Ricky grow, audiences see Ricky change as a person.  They are reminded without being preached at too much about what’s really important in life. 

Ricky isn’t the only person changed by G.  A number of religious leaders try to claim connection to G at one point in the story.  The absurdity of them trying to claim a link to him is another message that writer Tom Schulman makes.  Each leader thought his religion was G’s.  But did it really matter?  No.  This over emphasis on religion happens every day in real life.  Who is to say which religion is THE right one?  Maybe G is all of them in one.  Again, therein lays the message of our being distracted too much by this difference.

Through G, audiences realize how distracted we are by our materialism, as well as our religious differences.  G never once told anyone to buy anything from the Good Buy Shopping Network.  It was the people themselves who made the choice to buy products.  People suddenly buying stuff from GBSN drives Ricky to care too much about his own personal advancement until he too realized what was really important.  He came to that realization after losing (albeit temporarily) someone close to him.  Once again, the message of removing distractions comes into play.

There is no denying that the story behind “Holy Man” is not the most believable ever written.  But neither can one deny the powerful messages tied in to the story.  They serve as reminders that every once in a while, we need to just take a step back, breathe, and appreciate each other and the world, instead of getting wrapped up in our fast paced, constantly on the go lifestyles.  It may not be the most memorable movie.  But thanks to the messages incorporated into it, “Holy Man” becomes a movie that is worth at least a single watch.

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