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Film / Almost an Angel

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Almost An Angel is a 1990 supernatural Comedy starring Paul Hogan as Terry Dean, a skilled burglar who has just been released from jail. Knowing he's too skilled to pull off his standard jobs and not be caught for being recognized, he tries to go into the field of bank robbery using Latex Perfection to disguise himself. However, shortly after he gets started, he sees a child about to get hit by a car, and so he rushes to protect the child, taking the hit from the truck himself. Laying in the hospital, he has a dream where God tells him that his act of self-sacrifice, though pure instinct, has earned him a second chance, and he will be sent back to work as a provisional angel. Dismissing the dream, Terry attempts to rob another bank once he's out of the hospital, only to run into another group of bank robbers. One of them shoots Terry point blank, and he is unharmed (the leader of the gang knew the shooter would be nervous, so he loaded the gun with blanks, but Terry had no way to know this). Now accepting that his dream was real, Terry decides he'd better live up to his provisional angel status, and starts working to help others, Hilarity Ensues. The film also stars Elias Koteas, Linda Kozlowski note  and a cameo by Charlton Heston as God.

The film contains examples of:

  • Angel Unaware: Terry is this to the audience, who have been made to believe he's actually delusional.
  • Bad Ass Pacifist: Terry is taking his duties as an Angel seriously, so he is adhering to Thou Shall Not Kill. However, he's not above beating up a pair of drug dealers trying to hook the youth center kids. As he says this is allowed, as Jesus cast the money changers out of the temple.
  • Award-Bait Song: Vanessa Williams' end credits Power Ballad (it's a movie from The '90s, what did you expect?) "Some Wings" is this in spades.
  • Bait-and-Switch: Everything about the film is set up to make us believe that Terry's reformation is based on a dream, and that he's not actually an Angel. Until the end of the film, when an 18 wheeler passes right through him.
  • Cant Get Away With Nothing: The reason Terry changes his M.O. His skill at break ins is too well known, and he'd be suspect number one right away. And even then, the cops still suspect him (rightfully) of the bank robberies.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Terry asks Steve at one point if he has replacement batteries for his remote. Steve tells him he doesn't. We see Terry using the remote later, and the natural assumption is that Terry eventually picked up some batteries. When Rose opens the remote at the end of the film, there are no batteries in it, and then the cross on the church illuminates anyway, revealing that Terry really is an Angel (probationary)
  • Comically Missing the Point: Terry tries telling a couple of the kids who are fighting the story of Solomon and the Two Mothers to make a point. It flies completely over their heads. Of course, Terry himself is subject to this when he reads in the Bible that Jesus fed the multitudes with loaves and fishes, and so he gets a ton of fish sandwiches to feed the gunpoint. He realizes his error later when he sees the story on the news.
  • The Defroster: Terry to Steve Garner, whose debilitating illness has left him wheelchair bound and bitter. Terry calls him out on his rudeness, and actually makes Steve feel more like a normal person, stating:
    Terry: I see a man in a wheelchair, acting like a jerk in a wheelchair.
  • Disability as an Excuse for Jerkassery: Steve (Koteas) behaves this way early in the film, until Terry calls him out for it by treating him the same way he'd treat any other jerk. Steve is actually impressed, and reforms.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Not that Terry was too bad, but even though God calls him a scumbag, he also says that his Heroic Sacrifice earned him a second chance.
  • Handicapped Badass: Steve may be wheelchair bound, but that doesn't stop him from smacking the crap out of a drug dealer who was about to pull a gun on Terry.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Terry's trying. He frequently catches himself when he starts to curse or blaspheme.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Terry tries to claim altruism for saving the boy when speaking to God. God calls him out on this, saying it was simple instinct. Instinct, however, was enough to earn Terry a second chance.
  • Immune to Bullets: Terry's convinced that he is due to a misunderstanding and the ending implies that he may well be.
  • Judgment of Solomon: Terry suggests resolving two boys' dispute over a ping-pong paddle this way. The boys look at him quizzically, and then rush off to play Space Invaders.
  • Latex Perfection: Terry's attempt at robbing banks involved him disguising himself as various music celebrities (Rod Stewart and Willie Nelson) to avoid recognition.
  • Shout-Out: The premise of good-hearted criminal who dies and returns from Heaven to redeem himself on Earth somewhat recalls All Dogs Go to Heaven.