Picks and Pans Review: Heaven

updated 05/11/1987 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 05/11/1987 AT 01:00 AM EDT

Look in vain here for the humor and heart Diane Keaton brought to her role in Annie Hall. In her dilettantish debut as a director, Keaton is hell-bent on getting the poop on paradise from a randomly chosen group of Los Angeles citizens. She started her 100 or so video chat sessions in 1984, asking such questions as: "Are you afraid to die?" "What is heaven?" and "Is there sex in heaven?" Though many of the interviewees address her by name on camera, Keaton is never seen or heard. Her contribution was to splice these interviews with campy old movie and TV clips and music that sounds like a hereafter hit parade (My Blue Heaven, Over the Rainbow, etc.). For all the dazzle, the film emerges as pure prattle, alternately exploitative or patronizing. The wacko comments run the gamut. One person defines heaven as a place where there will be "wonderful bodies." Another compares reaching the pearly gates to winning an Oscar. A recent poll by USA Weekend re ported 67 percent of Americans believe in hell. If they sit through this maddening film, the other 33 percent are bound to come around. (PG-13)

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