Picks and Pans Review: The Devil and Max Devlin

updated 04/13/1981 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 04/13/1981 AT 01:00 AM EST

Think of this as the flip side of Heaven Can Wait. Like Warren Beatty, Elliott Gould gets snuffed in the prime of life. But instead of going Upstairs, Gould goes straight to the Bad Place because he was a nasty Los Angeles landlord as a mere mortal. Like Beatty, however, Gould works out a deal so he can return to the land of the living. He becomes a fire-and-brimstone recruiter, and his targets are an ambitious young rock singer (played by screen newcomer Julie Budd), a klutzy motorcyclist (David Knell) and an adorable kid who desperately wants a daddy (Adam Rich). Since this is a Disney film, these characters are all impossibly clean-cut. Steven Hilliard Stern, who directed Running, seems to have adopted a devil-may-care approach to his lead players. The most memorable aspect of Gould's performance is his apparent inability to shave properly, and Bill Cosby is strangely restrained as one of Lucifer's lieutenants. If there's a Purgatory for movies, this one belongs there. (PG)

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