(1996)2Karl WilliamsChock-full of phony good intentions and heavy-handed condescension, this lame-brained effort to create a modern-day Frank Capra-style fantasy from director Garry Marshall is downright offensive. It may not even be important to point out that this marketing scheme of a film is also not funny and is based on a poorly thought-out screenplay. A string of clichéd, debatable scenes quickly wear out the film's welcome, as does the character played by lead Greg Kinnear, set up for no discernible reason as a con man and then inexplicably transformed into a do-gooder hero simply because of plot requirements. Supporting characters are assembled seemingly from a central casting kit; a courtroom dispenses legal decisions that could exist nowhere but on a Hollywood sound stage; television news broadcasts resemble in no way the genuine article; and dire psychological crises are quickly remedied with whimsical bromides. These are just a few of the intelligence-insulting concepts that Dear God forces down its audience's collective throat, so sure are the filmmakers that an ignorant mass of moviegoers will gleefully sop it up whole. The film is Marshall at his worst, stretching far beneath the lowest common denominator to achieve a new storytelling nadir. Back to back with his previous effort, Exit to Eden (1994), Dear God represents a one-two punch of phoned-in awfulness from a sometimes gifted director. Dear God, indeed.