“Life’s tough,” said Milo Peck (Tom Sizemore) after failing to return a full sheet of one-of-a-kind Led Zeppelin stamps to a kid. “Sometimes you get what you want. Most likely, you don’t get what you want.”
“You stink, Mister.” It doesn’t take a little kid in a bicycle to tell Milo Peck that.
For four unlikely strangers who failed to resolve their lives after dying in an untimely bus accident in San Francisco, they all learned that most of the time, you don’t get what they want.
First there was Milo Peck in his entire leather jacket, blue jeans, and dark greased hair glory—a thief who stole stamps from a kid—to be forever labeled as a “bad guy.” Then there was Harrison Winslow (Charles Grodin)—a man who dreamed of singing in front of a crowd—if only he ever tried. Next there was Penny Washington (Alfre Woodard)—a mother of three who is left forever wondering the fate of her children after her death. Lastly, there was Julia (Kyra Sedgwick)—a woman who never got a chance to return a declaration of love to the man who loved her because she was too afraid of commitment.
With death, the four “ghosts” are drawn to a baby by the name of Thomas Reilly—following him first as “imaginary friends” and eventually watching over him as he reaches adulthood. However, when the bus driver (David Paymer) who cut short these four lives returns to collect their wandering souls, they learn that all these years that they were watching over the boy Thomas Reilly (Robert Downey Jr.), they were supposed to use him as a “vehicle” to reconcile their business on earth.
Watching his more recent films like Iron Man and Sherlock Holmes, it is amusing to watch a younger Robert Downey Jr. as he assumes the personalities of these four strangers in the 1993 classic Heart and Souls. From the slick way he swaggers as Milo Peck to the unmoving confidence he assumes as the bossy mother Penny Washington, Robert Downey Jr. is very deserving of his accredited Saturn Award for best actor.
However, the whole cast of characters, directed by Rob Underwood, is enjoyable to watch in this screenplay written by Gregory Hansen, Brent Maddock, Erik Hansen and S.S. Wilson. Furthermore, the music from Marc Shaiman contributes nicely to the film’s overall appeal.
No matter what your view of the afterlife is, Heart and Souls is a feel-good film–perfect comfort food and end to a long grueling week. Watching Robert Downey Jr. and company dance and sing to The Four Season’s “Walk Like A Man” in this light-hearted comedy is just the icing on the cake!