In an unexplained act of charity, Jeanne Holman, picks up an injured, apparent tramp and takes him home to care for him little realising who he was or the effect he would have on her life and those of her family.
The latest movie confection from Rambling Rose director Martha Coolidge is a ragged, awkward fairy tale that, despite an interesting premise, somehow fails to convince on any level. Set in mid-50s small town America, the action centres on Jean (Mastrantonio), a woman so pre-occupied with her troubles (her hubby has gone missing in the Korean war leaving her to raise their two young sons) that she accidentally gives park-bench dwelling drifter Jack (Swayze) and his mangy mutt a right wallop with her car, landing him in a plaster cast as a result.
Taking pity on him, Jean invites Jack to stay until his leg heals, but theres a twist on the inevitable familial bonding which ensues aside from his skills at baseball and bedtime stories, he is blessed with a genie-like ability to make wishes come true. Such a concept is one which, in the hands of a more imaginative director, could potentially have resulted in sparkling fantasy material. Sadly Coolidge goes predictably for the heart-string route, spreading terminal illness, baseball triumphs and pointless, out-of-place special effects on to proceedings with trowel-like precision, avoiding any form of comic relief, and never allowing the relationship between any of the characters to develop sufficiently.
Mastrantonio is sweet and wholesome enough to emerge relatively unscathed, but the unfortunate Swayze, complete with such neighbour-alarming habits as sunbathing au naturel(ital) and educating the local boys baseball team in pre-match meditation, merely comes over as a 90s New Man trapped in the wrong decade, while a closing discrepancy relating to his characters age doesnt so much take the biscuit as scatter crumbs in all directions.
Unbearably nice. Avoid.