Coming hot on the heels of 1985's Back to the Future was this low-budget little semi-laffer about a '50s-era greaser who is killed in an auto race ... only to be sent back from Heaven (30 years later) to befriend a dorky high school kid.
With its TV-style direction and blandly generic visual style, The Heavenly Kid feels like an ABC Movie of the Week, only with a few dirty words and bouncing knockers to earn the PG-13 rating. It's an entirely bland and inert little flick, and it's never actually laugh-out-loud funny in any discernible way, but the thing's still got a low-key likability that should appeal to fans of the 1980s.
Because man oh man is this movie dead-solid stuck smack-dab in the center of 1985. From the clothes and the slang to the music to the cars, The Heavenly Kid all but reeks of the tackiest of all decades, which means the flick might work as a kooky little time capsule experiment for you and your old high school buddies.
Starring Lewis Smith (as the ghostly greaser) and Jason Gedrick (as the zero (slowly) turned hero), The Heavenly Kid was (drably) directed by Cary Medoway, a filmmaker notable in that he never once worked again after this movie. His only other flick was 1984's Paradise Motel, which is precisely what you think it is. Fans of folks like Jane Kaczmarek, Mark Metcalf, and Richard Mulligan might be pleased to know that they're in this movie, so there; now they know.
Worthy of attention from only the staunchest of '80s archivists, The Heavenly Kid isn't so much an awful movie as it is just a "meh, whatever" flick. You'll rent it for the nostalgia value, you'll watch it ... and you'll forget completely about it within 24 minutes.
Video: It's an anamorphic widescreen (1.85:1) transfer, which is pretty cool coming from a studio that seemingly chooses its Full Frame releases via dartboard. Picture quality here is predictably flat and un-thrilling. Watchable, but not too slick.
Audio: Dolby Digital 2.0 English or French, with optional subtitles in the same two languages.
Extras: Just a handful of trailers for Christmas with the Kranks, Madison, and Saved!
Corny, obvious, sappy, simple-minded, and trite, it's got all the most obvious pieces from the time-travel comedies and the "geek turned chic" movies. The Heavenly Kid is neither good enough to get excited about nor bad enough to raise any tempers. It's just another piece of cinematic kitsch from a decade that churned out dozens of 'em.