When the colleagues depart, Elliott's attention is commanded by a stunning woman (Hurley) at the pool table, wearing a painted-on red dress. With the assistance of The Dark Arts (aka CGI), she sinks all 15 balls on the break shot and then introduces herself to Elliott: she's The Devil. She offers him the same old deal- his soul in exchange for a number of wishes (seven, in this instance), and presses him to try it out. Elliott wishes for some fast food, and The Antichrist arranges for it in a very roundabout way- a bus appears, they ride to McDonald's, Elliott orders, and then pays cash. I suppose technically ol' Lucifer summoned the bus (which actually explains quite a lot about Muni), but the rest is quite practical.
And here's the truly regrettable part of the movie (well, the most regrettable, aside from watching it in the first place). Elliott awakens in a new reality in which he is a Colombian drug lord, and that's handled with about all the cultural sensitivity you can imagine it was-- which is to say, none to speak of. But Elliott learns the truth behind the adage 'the devil is in the details': his wealth and power derive from an illegal, immoral, and dangerous activity; and while Alison is his wife, she does not love him and is in fact having an affair.
After conferring again with Old Scratch, Elliott rashly declares his wish to be the most sensitive man in the world and for Alison to love him. He is whisked away to a beach where a glorious sunset is making him cry and there's something wrong with his face.
For wish number three, Elliott desires to be macho, manly, respected, adored, and talented. He becomes a physically giant NBA star with a tiny IQ and (womp womp!) an equally tiny penis. Alison, now a sports reporter, snickers and walks away (because all women are size queens). Elliott once again revises his wish- now he wants to be intelligent and well-hung. Mephistopheles makes him a celebrated author who seduces Alison at a dinner party with his effervescent charm. Of course, this is a deal with the devil, and there's a catch- namely, Elliott's boyfriend, who is shocked to see his partner bring a woman into their apartment with the intention of having sex with her.
Okay- Elliott is sure he's almost got the hang of this. He wishes to be the President of the United States (No Homo Edition). And he is! Why, he's sitting down to watch the play right now with his stovepipe hat and chinbeard. Yup, he's Abe Lincoln, about five minutes pre-assassination. After this disastrous run, Elliott puts the wishes on the back burner for a while and simply goes back to work. The Great Deceiver appears on his computer monitor to remind him that he only has one wish left. Wait, one? Elliott definitely used only five wishes, he insists, so he should have two left. But oh, no: it turns out that the Big Mac counted as wish number one, even though he hadn't yet signed the contract and he had to pay for it his damn self.
Thoroughly pissed off now, Elliott tries to find a way out of his contract with the Horned One. He confesses to a priest, who believes him to be drunk and calls the cops. Thrown in jail by The Coiling Serpent, in disguise as a police officer, Elliott confides in a preternaturally calm cellmate who might be an angel and is most definitely a Magical Negro. The cellmate informs Elliott that he can't sell his soul to someone else, silly, because it belongs to Gee-Oh-Dee and always has!
Back in real life, Elliott tries to make the best of the crap hand dealt to him. He screws up the courage to ask out Allison in the lobby of their office, but she politely turns him down. When the colleagues whose approval he used to fervently desire make fun of him, he gets aggro and stands up for himself, leaving them stunned and speechless. At the end of the day, Elliott is biking home when he encounters movers in front of his building. His new neighbor, Nicole (also O'Connor), is just as adorkable (read: annoying) as he is, and there is instant chemistry!
The film ends happily, with Nicole and Elliott walking hand in hand through Aquatic Park as Baphomet's Shepherd and Undercover Angel play a game of chess nearby. When Undercover Angel steals a glance at the happy couple, The Great Snake quickly tries to cheat at the game- but is caught when he turns back around. Oooh, you devil! They have a good laugh.
The End (Jesus Wept).
1. At the start of the film, when the Devil conjures a sports car to drive across the Bay to Oakland, they are shown driving downtown, with Market Street in the background. The next scene has them in North Beach, on the south side of Telegraph Hill. Although still close to the Bay Bridge and the only route east to Oakland, this represents a detour from downtown San Francisco to Oakland all the same.
Of course, this is evident in Wish #4, a quickie of a "joke" whose punchline is predicated entirely upon the conceit that our protagonist is gay or bisexual. There's another gag that pulls a double-whammy by being topical in both its gay panic and in its lampoon of contemporary celebrity. When Elliott wishes to be athletic, powerful, and adored, he and The Devil work out that he should be in the NBA. Elliott's attire immediately transforms into a colorfully androgynous getup, complete with platform boots and an ostentatious wide-brimmed hat: a clear reference to Dennis Rodman. Today we know Rodman for his bromance with North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un, but in the 1990s he was in the news as much for his athleticism as he was for his appearance. In a pre-Beckham world, a heterosexual man in a traditionally masculine setting such as professional sports was truly blurring hard-set boundaries by acquiring multiple piercings and tattoos, dying his hair artificially bright colors, and wearing dresses and cosmetics. For that man to be black, to boot, was nothing short of revolutionary.
Elliott, however, is having none of this envelope-pushing. He likes his assigned fragile masculinity, thank you very much! Upon finding himself clad in something fluffy and pink, Elliott howls like he's covered in poisonous spiders, prancing in a panicked mince undoubtedly meant to evoke more chuckles at the expense of his perceived femininity.
The only positive takeaway from all this, I suppose, is to note how awkwardly it sticks out today and to observe how much society has (hopefully) changed. Maybe Elliott can take a cue from Iggy Pop: "I'm not ashamed to 'dress like a woman' because I don't think it's shameful to be a woman."
Elliott's got a nice apartment! 1155 Filbert Street is at the crest of a monster hill and, as you can see below, affords quite the stunning view of Telegraph Hill and the East Bay. It was briefly listed in 2010 for just under half a million before being taken off the market. Just to give you an idea of how insane the property market is right now, only six years later it's estimated to be worth more than twice that at $1.1 million.
Authenticity: 4/10- This movie is like a tourist that comes to San Francisco just to shop at Target and eat at Chipotle. It's nice that they chose us, but for all the local flavor they got they could just as well be in Cleveland, Syracuse, or Tampa.
Fine Print: 3/10- Looking past the sappy moral of 'just be yourself,' this movie has some seriously dark subcontext regarding gender, sexuality, and Nice Guys.
Overall: 4/10- Much like star Elizabeth Hurley herself, many would say this film is enjoyable to take in, but below the attractive surface lie disappointingly vapid beliefs.