Picks and Pans Review: Heart and Souls

updated 08/16/1993 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 08/16/1993 AT 01:00 AM EDT

Rubert Downey Jr., Kyra Sedgwick, Charles Crodin, Tom Sizemore, Elisabeth Shue, AIfre Woodard

Think Herman's Head. Think Topper. Think Here Comes Mr. Jordan or Heaven Can Wait. Think A Gay Named Joe, Always or Ghost. Best of all, think of doing something other than wasting your time on this marsh-mallow-brained fantasy romance.

Its gauzy premise is that when a car collides with a San Francisco city bus, a pregnant woman in the auto instantaneously gives birth to a son whose soul is merged with the ghosts of four bus riders (Sedgwick, Grodin, Sizemore and Woodard) killed in the crash. The boy, who grows up to be Downey, can see and hear the ghosts, but nobody else can, except, alas, the audience. (The ghosts have been allowed to keep contact with life to enable them to take care of crucial unfinished business they left behind when they were killed in the crash; Sizemore, for instance, is a cheap crook who had promised to return valuable stamps he had stolen from a 10-year-old boy.)

The ghosts meddle on and off in the boy's life, returning when he's about 30 to flit around in the middle of his romance with Shue. Downey early on exhausts his repertoire of acting moves: looking blank and dead-eyed and mincing about in semidrag mode. Old pro Grodin makes his trademark forlorn gaze generate laughs even when the script has the cast milling around in pathetic, go-nowhere scenes. The others are simply dead-ended. (PG-13)

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