It’s amazing how for a while after the debut of Columbo, pretty much every noir detective character type seems to have gravitationally attracted Peter Falk. Not that there were all that many such roles to go around. It turns out this is parodying Humphrey Bogart specifically, but basically all Bogart films, compared to Murder By Death, which is specifically a Sam Spade parody.
It’s probably not a good sign that this movie is so jam-packed with big name actors and I’ve only heard of it by cruising the back catalogs of streaming platforms, but on the other hand, anything from before 1998 that isn’t an 80s or 90s cult classic is getting hard to find online. Which is a shame because there are a lot of great movies over 40 years old.
This seems strongly positioned as a guardian angel/Mary Poppins kind of movie, but I think that’s just metaphorical, and hopefully tongue in cheek. The movie I would really like this to be is Max Dugan dropping into his daughter’s life expecting to fix everything and be instantly forgiven and failing miserably on both accounts, then working to earn his way back into her family and in the process making things better. That’s the plot vibe I’m getting from this movie, and I hope the magical trappings are just because it’s the kind of art Neil Simon brings to a project, because if it’s as straightforward as it looks, that would easily become too simple and saccharine.