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MGM Studios DVD presents
The Heavenly Kid (1985)

"Hey, Emily, don't worry, I got it covered."
- Bobby Fantana (Lewis Smith)

Review By: Chuck Aliaga   
Published: November 16, 2005

Stars: Lewis Smith, Jane Kaczmarek, Jason Gedrick
Other Stars: Richard Mulligan
Director: Cary Medoway

MPAA Rating: PG-13 for (language, adult situations)
Run Time: 01h:31m:06s
Release Date: November 15, 2005
UPC: 027616125347
Genre: comedy


Style
Grade
Substance
Grade
Image Transfer
Grade
Audio Transfer
Grade
Extras
Grade
B- B+B-C D-

DVD Review

It seems like 2005 alone has seen a ton of catalog titles emerge that were mainstays on cable TV back in the 1980s. From The Garbage Pail Kids Movie to The Ice Pirates, more and more of these B-movies are making their way to DVD to recapture the hearts of those, like myself, who watched them over and over again. The Heavenly Kid is one of these movies; one that I remember more fondly than most of the others.

Despite its low-key status, and relative obscurity, The Heavenly Kid has quite a bit going for it. Not only does it offer us early appearances by Jane Kaczmarek (the mom in Malcolm In the Middle) and Jason Gedrick (the Iron Eagle himself), but getting to watch Richard Mulligan (Empty Nest) play an angel is reason enough to check this flick out. The late actor is the main thing I remembered before revisiting The Heavenly Kid, a viewing that was the ultimate trip down memory lane.

Bobby Fantana (Lewis Smith) is a super-cool guy with a gorgeous girlfriend named Emily (Kaczmarek), and the ultimate leather jacket. Bobby's luck runs out one night during a drag race and he is soon on his way up to heaven. In the great beyond, Bobby meets Rafferty (Mulligan), an angel who sends him back to Earth on a very important mission: to help a high school kid named Lenny Barnes (Gedrick), who isn't exactly "cool." It doesn't take long before Bobby wants to give up on Lenny, but when he finds out that his mother is his former girlfriend, Emily, he suddenly has renewed interest in helping this family.

The Heavenly Kid is about as light and fluffy as comedic fantasies get, but it does have a slight edge to it that sets it apart. Perhaps it's the creepy scene near the beginning when Bobby is traveling on a subway surrounded by other recently deceased people, or maybe it's just the overall back-from-the-dead theme. Whatever it is, this isn't just throwaway, clichéd romantic comedy junk, and there are enough fantastical nuances here to even get genre buffs involved, if only slightly.

The cast is enjoyable enough, with Kaczmarek doing an especially fine job in one of her earliest roles. When I first saw Malcolm in the Middle, I knew I had seen her in some film or TV show in the past—lo and behold, it was The Heavenly Kid. Jason Gedrick has always been a B-list actor, and his work here is a prime example of why he deserves such a status. Lewis Smith isn't exactly a household name, but he holds his own in the title role. The real star of the show is the late Richard Mulligan, who is mostly responsible for the movie's aforementioned edge. His Rafferty might be an angel, but he is hardcore in his handling of Bobby, and isn't a pushover when it comes to bending the rules to appease his angel-in-training.

Rating for Style: B-
Rating for Substance: B+

 

Image Transfer

 One
Aspect Ratio1.85:1 - Widescreen
Original Aspect Ratioyes
Anamorphicyes


Image Transfer Review: For the first time in its home video history, The Heavenly Kid is presented in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen. The source material seems to have held up pretty well for such an old film, as the images are detailed, despite an overall soft look. There's still some grain and dirt, but not enough to take away from a nice rendering of the color scheme.

Image Transfer Grade: B-

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0English, Frenchyes


Audio Transfer Review: The Dolby Digital 2.0 audio stays up front for the most part, but there are some music cues that find the mix branching out to the surround speakers. There really isn't any bass presence, but the dialogue is nice and sharp.

Audio Transfer Grade: C

 

Disc Extras

Static menu
Scene Access with 12 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English, French
3 Other Trailer(s) featuring Christmas with the Kranks, Madison, Saved
Packaging: Keep Case
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extras Review: The only extra feature is a collection of previews for other MGM releases.

Extras Grade: D-

 

Final Comments

The Heavenly Kid is a blast from the past in more ways than one. This charming tale of a "Fonzie"-like greaser who is tasked with showing a dorky kid how to be cool has something to offer everyone, and is appropriate for the whole family. MGM's DVD is typical of their catalog fare, as it has good enough audio and video and no extras aside from some trailers.

 


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