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Still shot from the movie: Defending Your Life.

Defending Your Life

Daniel Miller, played by Albert Brooks, is an aspiring advertising mogul, until his new convertible meets up with a bus. Get the movie review and more. »


Overall: B-
Violence: A
Sexual Content: B-
Language: B
Drugs/Alcohol: --
Run Time: 112
Theater Release: 23 Mar 1991
Video Release:
MPAA Rating: PG
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Albert Brooks writes, directs, and acts his way into heaven in this comedy. Daniel Miller, played by Brooks, is an aspiring advertising mogul, until his new convertible meets up with a bus. Suddenly, he finds himself in the hereafter, where he must defend his life on earth if he is to progress. While batting for his existence, he falls in love in with Julia (Meryl Streep).

Brooks's interpretation of the meaning of life may not agree with some. A turning point in the script is when Miller decides not to go to bed with Julia, and then is held accountable for this because he was afraid. Earlier, he is accused of being afraid to use inside knowledge to make a fortune on the stock market. Hardly orthodox doctrine for the requirements of admission to heaven.

Amongst backwards morals and some sexual dialogue, some truly funny wisecracks from Brooks are interspersed. There is really no violence in this film, except for some verbal abuse.

This film suffers from the writer/director/actor syndrome, where everything seems to revolve around the one contributor. Although funny, at times Brooks seems to be looking for an opportunity to be a stand up comedian. This point of view seems to limit Streep from doing the fine job normally associated with her performances.

Overall this film leaves you still waiting to find out about Daniel Miller and his life. It never seems to reach a point where you truly understand what Brooks is trying to say with his script.

Defending Your Life is rated PG:

Cast: Albert Brooks, Michael Durrell

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About the Reviewer: Rod Gustafson

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