Defending Your Life

Director: Albert Brooks
Year Released: 1991
Rating: 1.5

Albert Brooks dies and goes to Purgatory where, with the help of legal advisor Rip Torn, has to prove he's worthy of moving on (and, in traditional movie fashion, has a gal to fall for in the form of the benevolent Meryl Streep). The concept is clever, but the 'courtroom scenes' in which Brooks 'reviews' pieces of his life almost stop the picture dead: if I'm not mistaken, the message here is that 'the next level' (Valhalla? Heaven? Whatever?) is reserved for people who take ridiculous chances and fail to exercise caution or worry about self preservation. Using this dreadful logic, some of the most hedonistic individuals that have ever lived will 'move on,' while those that try to live in peace and choose the straight-and-narrow will have to come back and re-do all this 'living' nonsense again? Streep, normally one for meaty roles, just giggles her way through this: give her the damn wings and halo already.