The Devil and Max Devlin (1981)

Genres - Comedy, Fantasy  |   Sub-Genres - Fantasy Comedy, Heaven-Can-Wait Fantasies  |   Release Date - Mar 6, 1981 (USA - Unknown)  |   Run Time - 96 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - PG
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Review by Matthew Tobey

In all of its decades of success, Walt Disney Studios never felt compelled to make anything but G-rated films, so when they finally decided to produce a PG-rated picture in 1981, one would have expected them to have a film so good, so perfect, that changing any of it to achieve a G-rating would be a travesty. But they made The Devil and Max Devlin instead, a sloppy, uneven comedy that might better have been titled "Hell Can Wait." Elliott Gould's good-for-nothing landlord is unconvincing as both a bad guy and a converted good guy, and Bill Cosby once again proves himself unable to play anyone but Bill Cosby, with a turn as the dark lord Satan. There are a couple of forced chuckles, but even they are few and far-between, making the only real interesting part of the whole experience the performance by Streisand-lookalike Julie Budd as an aspiring pop singer. Why the filmmakers did this is uncertain, but the fact that the character is supposed to be Babs is indisputable and kind of fun to speculate about given the songstress and Gould's history.