Picks and Pans Review: City of Angels
Ryan plays a heart surgeon who is all heart. She weeps inconsolably when one of her patients croaks.
"People die," says a new suitor (Cage), trying to comfort her.
"Not on my table," she replies.
People do die (see My Giant review), but that doesn't mean you shouldn't embrace life while you can. That is the obvious point of City of Angels, a dipped-in-honey love story (based on Wings of Desire, director Wim Wenders's 1987 German film), which comes so close to working it's doubly disappointing when it goes lachrymosely overboard at the end. Not since Ghost has there been this kind of big, gooey, lose-yourself romantic movie that almost makes you believe.
Cage isn't your everyday eligible bachelor. This guy is an angel (but minus wings). He and his fellow angels hang out at L.A.'s public library or at the beach, cruise around eavesdropping on people's inner thoughts and comfort folks who are about to shrug off their mortal coils. It is while performing this last duty that Cage first spies Ryan, dressed in surgeon's scrubs, striving desperately to save a patient. He falls in love and, soon, so does she. Their love is so strong, Cage considers abandoning angelhood for human form. If the movie ended there, fine. But it doesn't. Director Brad Silberling (Casper) and screenwriter Dana Stevens have added an extended coda that is the movie equivalent of piling one too many sugar cubes onto an already shaky tower.
Ryan and Cage both shine here, however, giving big-star performances that serve their appealing characters. He is about the most thoughtful, sensitive, soulful angel one could hope to encounter, repeatedly fixing Ryan with great baleful stares as if he could read into her very depths. Who wouldn't fall for this guy? And Ryan hits all the right notes as a woman who knows something major is missing from her life. (PG-13)
Bottom Line: Seraphically good, but bring a hanky