: (David Newman) It's been done before,
and it's been done with far more originality. It never seems that Mr.
apologizes for borrowing so many ideas from other films, and
to make matters worse, it makes little attempt to take those ideas in a
new direction. If you're familiar with "It's a Wonderful Life" or "A
Christmas Carol," then you'll immediately identify James Belushi in the
Scrooge role in Mr. Destiny
. He's a defeated man, still stuck on
his memory of striking out in a high school baseball championship; when
his boss fires him, his car breaks down, and everyone forgets his
birthday, he stumbles into an empty bar where he tells the bartender
that everything has gone wrong in his life since that baseball game.
Lucky for him this bartender is none other than Michael Caine in the
role of God (or guardian angel, or ghost of Christmas past... makes no
difference). Caine takes Belushi on a trip back in his life to discover
what might have happened had things turned out differently, allowing
Belushi to live out his alternate reality (and swap Linda Hamilton for
Rene Russo, which makes anyone wonder why the guy is dissatisfied in
either case). Some comedic moments result, but the problem with Mr.
is that it takes so long to get to its salvation and offers
too few laughs in between. Everything is painfully predictable and drawn
out, and critics and audiences identified the film as a rehash without
the comedy to float its tired script. Interestingly, some of America's
foremost critics (including Roger Ebert) criticized the underscore of
the film as being uninspired, and the writer of that score is David
Newman. For decades, Newman has been stuck writing dumb comedy music,
wasting his talents on films that don't deserve the kind of orchestral
integrity that he offers. Someone has to do the job, though, and Newman
seems to dive head-first into these projects.
You can tell what Newman was trying to do with Mr.
right off the bat. He approached the score from the mystical
standpoint, attempting to win over the audience with tingling sensations
of magic rather than the personality of his comedy writing. When you
condense his score down onto one Varèse Sarabande 30-minute
album, what you hear is much of the bravado of the suspenseful
universe-shifting sequences and some stock action motifs. The ensemble
consists of a moderately-sized orchestra and Newman's synthetic aides.
His score functions best when he incorporates the sparse electronic
accompaniment into the mix, causing the straight, rather mundane
symphonic underscore to beg for more of that creativity. A conservative
major-key approach maintains a lighthearted base for Newman's
free-floating themes. The structures in the score are fluff for the most
part, though in the opening suite and final "Larry is Home" cue, he does
offer his title theme with a rolling string effect that boosts the power
to impressive levels. With several cues featuring this level of activity
throughout the score, it's hard to figure exactly what the critics were
noticing when they criticized the lack of music in the film; while the
album only represents a fraction of the running time of the entire film,
the significant volume of Newman's music in these 30 minutes seems to
debunk that criticism. A fanfare in "Larry is Changed" has all the
bravado and gleaming success as Galaxy Quest
, and some of the
boiling string rhythms will remind of The Phantom
. The low key
sequences during romantic conversation pieces do drag on, but even at
their slowest ("Larry Looks for Ellen"), the piano and woodwind
performances are far from lifeless. The score's primary drawback is its
general lack of creativity in an otherwise highly magical situation.
Newman tries to accomplish this, but it sometimes borders on trite and
you have to figure that if he was attempting to draw from a broad
orchestral base for the mysterious circumstances of the story, some more
over-the-top writing might have helped the film distinguish itself. In
the plethora of similar David Newman scores, Mr. Destiny
decent, but not worth a lengthy search. *** @Amazon.com: CD or
For David Newman reviews at Filmtracks, the average editorial rating is 3.17
(in 12 reviews)|
and the average viewer rating is 3.25
(in 18,924 votes). The maximum rating is 5 stars.
The insert includes no extra information about the score or film.