Movie Reviews
11:51 am
Thu February 27, 2003

Manna From Heaven

It's a sweet film, no worse, no better than a bunch of other recent films hoping to catch the "My-Fat-Greek-Wedding" windfall, which is real money by the way.

The five bright, not shy Burton sisters and their writer mother, all from Central Ohio, have fashioned a modern fable in a lighthearted story of greed, guilt, and gratitude. They are promoting "Manna From Heaven" around the country themselves, leaving a wake of family stories at least as interesting as the film itself.

In "Manna" a financial windfall of $20K falls out of a red truck and into the hands of a working-class family in Buffalo (Unknown to them until later, it is all counterfeit). Eventually the nun in the family wants them all to pay it back. So they start a few competitions to raise money and eventually bring them as a family back together.

It's stock stuff all the way to the neatly-tied ending. Because Director Gabrielle Burton and the rest of the family claim this as a "feel-good" movie, it is impossible to fault them for creating a sure Disney Channel event. They achieve what they wanted and include some classy actors in the cast: Shirley Jones, Cloris Leachman, Louise Fletcher, and Seymour Cassel among other notables. Frank Gorshin is too hammy even for this crew.

The cast works hard to overcome the script's tendency to cloy. Thank goodness for Wendie Malick ("Just Shoot Me") as a no-nonsense card dealer. One of the five sisters, Ursula Burton, plays Theresa, the do-good nun, as convincingly as the best of the veteran actors.

It's a sweet film, no worse, no better than a bunch of other recent films hoping to catch the "My-Fat-Greek-Wedding" windfall, which is real money by the way.