In this appalling retread of Frank Capra's It's a Wonderful Life, video stalwart James Belushi plays Larry Burrows, a middle-class schlump stuck in a rut. Then a bartending angel (Michael Caine) gives him a taste of what his life would be like if he'd hit that home run in high school: His destiny altered, Larry's a factory CEO, married to the prom queen, and living in a big mansion. He's miserable, of course (this being patronizing populism), but his duress about success would have been more believable if the script weren't so obnoxious about pushing its imitation Capra-corn. For a film that talks about ''decent common folk,'' this rings so false that you can tell it was made by people who never get out of Beverly Hills.
The movie's main order of business is advertising, really. The producers of Mr. Destiny solicited plugs, at rates of up to $60,000, for the actors to use and mention products, resulting in absurd references to Lite beer and Folgers crystals shoehorned into the dialogue. Belushi even does an entire monologue about how much he loves his Wheaties. The saddest thing is that the product plugging is more inspired than the plot. D-