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KIDS ON FILM

Girls Get Into Romantic Spirit of 'Heart and Souls'

August 26, 1993|CORINNE FLOCKEN | Corinne Flocken is a free-lance writer who regularly covers Kid Stuff for The Times Orange County Edition.

In "Heart and Souls," mega-yupster Thomas Reilly (Robert Downey Jr.) has the seams ripped out of his buttoned-down heart by four heaven-bound spirits--a librarian and frustrated singer, an uncertain bride, a small-time hood and a single mom--whose loose ends on Earth he grudgingly helps tie up. (PG-13) *

The way Erin and her friends see it, good works and a pure heart are great for the long run, but for a quick spiritual pick-me-up, "Heart and Souls" will do just fine. Erin, 12, and her pals Brandi, 14, and Kellie, 13, gave the film a thumbs up, but, they cautioned, to really enjoy it, a viewer should at least be comfortable with the idea of a higher power.

"It's not religious or anything, (but) if somebody didn't believe in God, they might not get it," Erin said.

As the spirits' designated "corporeal being," Thomas must provide, if not the brains, at least the brawn necessary to resolve the spirits' unfinished business, a situation that often requires the souls to temporarily inhabit his body.

To Erin, Brandi and Kellie, these scenes were the funniest. Brandi's favorite: when Reilly, inhabited by the spirit of Harrison, the librarian/aspiring singer, belts out the national anthem at a B.B. King concert.

"But," as she pointed out, "that could never happen in real life. The minute the security guards saw him, vooom, he'd be outta there."

There were a few other technical problems, they thought, such as the bus accident that killed Thomas' ghostly foursome.

"No way does it take a bus that long to stop," Kellie said. "And there was no blood or anything."

Come to think of it, "Heart and Souls" is basically free of violence, and there are only a few tame sexual references. So why the PG-13 rating?

Probably because of the Milo the thief's "attitude toward girls," explained Kellie. (He likes them, ahem, a lot.)

"And because they showed that suspender thingy on the girl's leg," offered Erin, referring to a garter belt.

All in all, the girls decided, because "Heart and Souls" was "really happy but made you cry," it's ideal for female viewers 12 and older. The consensus: Guys, especially young ones, might laugh at the physical humor but probably wouldn't appreciate the more subtle heartwarming moments or the ultra-romantic ending.

If a guy and girl "go as a date, it would be a good movie," Erin said. "But if a guy went on his own, he'd probably get weird."

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