Film Scouts Reviews

"Three Wishes"

by Eleanor Ringel

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Patrick Swayze drifts through '50s suburbia in this gentle family fantasy directed by Martha Coolidge. When a young widow (Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio) literally runs into Swayze - she hits him with her car, breaking his foot - she insists he and his dog Betty Jane come stay with her and her two sons until his foot heals. The movie shows the effect that Swayze's unconventional ways - he's a bearded tea-drinker who chants to find inner peace - have on Mastrantonio's family and on the cookie-cutter conformity of her neighborhood. The message he imparts is to her eldest son (whose story this really is) is pretty simple: what everyone else thinks doesn't matter. And then there's Betty Jane who turns out to be something - or someone - far more powerful than your average garden-variety mongrel. This is one of those hard-to-pin-down movies that usually tank at the theaters and then gets discovered on video. Think of it as the best-ever episode of "Highway to Heaven." Nothing earth-shattering, just a darn nice movie with a beguiling whisper of wish-fulfillment. Frank Capra would like this film; heck, he'd have made this film if he were still around.

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