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TOPPER (1979)
Article 5195 by Dave Sindelar
Date: 6-28-2016
Directed by Charles S. Dubin
Featuring Kate Jackson, Andrew Stevens, Jack Warden
Country: USA
What it is: Supernatural TV-Pilot comedy

Two fun-loving socialites die in an automobile accident, but they can't go to heaven until they do a good deed.  They decide to help a stuffy financial adviser to cut loose and have a good time.

The original had Cary Grant.  This one has scenes in a disco.  Okay, that's a bit of a cheap shot from someone who hated the whole disco scene, but one of the lines from the movie during the disco scene is "Nobody comes here for sparkling conversation!", and that's an apt description for this version of the movie, though not the original.  I don't object to Jack Warden in the title role, but he doesn't hold a candle to Roland Young; in fact, I don't think there's anyone in the cast I would prefer over the equivalent actor in the original.  Nor is there wit in the script nor energy in the direction; this movie just seems to meander absent-mindedly through its plot.  If there's anyone here that stands out, I'd have to choose Kate Jackson; at least she seems to be trying to tap into the spirit of the original movie, and given that she's one of the executive producers and was hoping this would make it into a series, that's understandable.  But the movie is glum and joyless.  Fortunately, the original is still around, and it's much easier to find than this forgotten remake.

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