You won’t need three guesses to know where Three Wishes is headed once a mid-1950s single mom, Jeanne Holman (Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio), sideswipes a drifter (Patrick Swayze) with her sedan. She invites him home to mend, and with that scruffy beard, anachronistically buff body, and loner-stud air of mystery, Swayze’s Jack McCloud is unmistakably destined to change forever the conformist, suburban-tract town he’s landed in. It’s a foregone conclusion, too, the minute director Martha Coolidge (Rambling Rose, Lost in Yonkers) starts laying on the close-ups of grotesquely judgmental neighbors, that these harpies won’t be able to talk Jeanne out of her utterly ’90s ideas about how to raise two boys on her own paycheck — or out of hitting the sack with Jack.
What tension there is in this period piece arrives with a jolt when Jeanne’s 5-year-old suddenly develops cancer. Beware ads heralding Wishes as ”family entertainment”: The lad endures a hospital visit and some mighty disturbing fever dreams of a creepy totem come to life before Swayze sails in with a bizarre, Spielbergian F/X flourish to soothe the whole Holman clan. Swayze oglers should wait for Wishes on video; the overblown magic-realist trappings may not look so thin on smaller screens. C