Undeterred by the universally hostile reaction to her previous holiday picture, Mixed Nuts, director Nora Ephron (Sleepless in Seattle) is back at it again this year with Michael, the second angel-comes-to-Earth feature of the month. While this may not be quite as sweet as The Preacher's Wife, the central theme of redemption is essentially the same. And, even though the script for Michael moderates its sugary flavor with a dash of cynicism, it's no stretch to guess that the film is going for the same audience that's enchanted by such life-affirming classics as A Christmas Carol and It's a Wonderful Life.
John Travolta, fresh from Phenomenon and seemingly twenty pounds heavier, plays a grungy, chain-smoking, womanizing archangel named Michael. His purpose on Earth, in this, his final mission to the planet, is "to restore a man's heart" by imitating Cupid. That man is Frank Quinlan (William Hurt), a former reporter for the Chicago Tribune who has been reduced to writing stories for th