"The Heavenly Kid" is a hellish hash of the thumping rock 'n' roll, PG-peekaboo shots and smutty hypocrisy that have made the teen sex comedy the gypsy moth of the modern cinema.
Bobby (Lewis Smith), playing "chicken" in the early '60s, dies in a car crash, but the authorities won't let him into "Uptown" until he does a good deed. So he returns to the present-day world as a guardian angel for Lenny (Jason Gedrick), a nerd. Under Bobby's tutelage, Lenny trounces the bully, beds the blond and drinks the beer.
But of course, by the end, he learns that the high life is empty, that it is the plain, intellectual girl, not the bombshell, who's really special. Likewise, Bobby, though dead, becomes less self-centered. These movies never tire of lecturing us, all the while the camera zooms down some girl's de'colletage.
Everything about "The Heavenly Kid" is ripped off, from a sprig of music that apes the "Beverly Hills Cop" theme to Gedrick, who was obviously cast because he looks like Tom Cruise, but cheaper. Bobby is visible to Lenny, but no one else, so there are some "Topper"-style visual jokes (cars that seem to be driving themselves, for example), all stale. The rest of the humor centers on Bobby's attempts to acclimate himself to '80s life. Lenny gives him some marijuana, calls it "grass"; Bobby says, "I'm smokin' somebody's lawn?" Bobby watches women in leotards on TV and comments, "Lotta changes." Lenny gets into a car with a blond; Bobby watches the car bouncing on its suspension and comments, "Lotta changes."
Actually, nothing's changed at all.
The Heavenly Kid, opening today at area theaters, is rated PG-13 and contains profanity and sexual themes.