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`Sister Act' an irreverent comedy with touch of humanity
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`Sister Act' an irreverent comedy with touch of humanity

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MOVIE REVIEW: Good

WHAT: "Sister Act."

KEY PERFORMERS: Whoopi Goldberg, Harvey Keitel, Maggie Smith.

RATING: PG.

WHERE: Opens Friday at Movies 8, Parklane, Broken Arrow

and Sand Springs Cinemas 8.

After enough infighting to make Orson Welles' battles with

studio bosses look like a romp in the sandbox, Touchstone

Pictures emerges a winner with its irreverent comedy "Sister Act."

But there's another winner - star Whoopi Goldberg, who spent

most of her time during the filming fighting Disney chief

Jeffrey Katzenberg over what she viewed as racial stereotypes.

Despite their differences - and a legion of script doctors

that included Carrie Fisher - "Sister Act" is outrageous

fun and delicious deviltry. The laughs keep coming but,

best of all, there's much humanity at work. It's a movie

that just, pardon me, makes you feel darn good.

Goldberg glams up a bit for her role as Deloris Von Cartier,

a Diana Ross wannabe who, with big hair and two off-key

backup singers, performs '60s tunes in a ratty Reno lounge.

Unfortunately, her lover is mobster Vince LaRocca (Harvey

Keitel), who whacks his chauffeur, with Deloris a witness.

She's gotta go. And she does.

Eddie Mulcahy (Bill Nunn), a cop who has been trying to

send Vince up the river for a long time, decides to hide

her out in a convent. For Deloris, a lapsed Catholic, it's

like doing time in the real big house.

And it's also where the fun begins.

What a whopping good brew of characters: an austere mother

superior - the best of Maggie Smith; shy and sweet Sister

Mary Robert (Wendy Makkena); the elderly and droll Sister

Mary Lazarus (Mary Wickes); and the perky and impish Sister

Mary Patrick (Kathy Najimy).

Deloris, who's known as Sister Mary Clarence, has trouble

fitting into the strict regimen of convent life. She especially

has trouble with institutional food and the lack of drink

and sneaks out one night to a neighborhood bar. She's unknowingly

followed by Mary Patrick and Mary Robert, who pump up the

volume and turn the place inside out.

The convent's pride and joy is its terrible choir - a truly

awful group that would make saints go out and kill sinners.

Deloris takes over, adds her own spin and turns the group

into a finger-popping joy that becomes the hit of the diocese.

Church attendance soars and the convent soon is overrun

with camera crews and other media hounds.

When Deloris unwittingly gets her face on television, Vince

sees her and she's instant rub-out material. The chase takes

Deloris and the sisters from the convent to the casino rooms of Reno.

It's all wonderful slapstick and filled with enough comedic

bits to keep audiences rolling in the aisles until the credits flow.

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