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  • This is a movie that is not too deep, in the literary sense, but very deep emotionally. If you have lost wife or husband (and I don't mean in the cosmetic or sporting goods section), or have gone through a traumatic experience with a wife or girlfriend, this movie will really hit home. Dolly was never my favorite actress, but she definitely came up a few notches in this movie. I started out not liking her character at all, but she later makes amends. As I said before, it's not deep, but even if you have been through a divorce and have had a tough time coping with your relationship with your kids, it will hit the buttons. Her second song made me want to right out & find it on CD. And I am NOT a country music fan.
  • Ruby (Dolly Parton) is a two-bit country music performer, making the rounds at the local watering holes. On a day near Christmas, she goes to the parking lot after her act and gets a surprise. Her boyfriend is cheating on her in a "pickup" romantic tryst. Most unhappy, Ruby breaks off their relationship and gets behind the wheel of her own car. As can be expected, the singer is so upset that she doesn't pay attention to the road and crashes, fatally. At the pearly gates, Peter (Roddy McDowall) tells her she can't have her wings just yet. In her former earthly life, it seems Ruby had too many misspent days and nights. Now, the songstress must go back to earth as a nanny and help a widower, Ben (Brian Kerwin) and his family rediscover the joys of the holidays, after their loss. When Ruby gets to the house, she finds they need her desperately. Ben has thrown himself into his work and neglects his two children. The teenage daughter is picking inappropriate friends and actions, in search of attention, and the elementary aged son spends way too much time playing video games alone in his room. Slowly, Ruby works her magic. But, since her deadline, no pun intended, is December 25, will Ruby earn her wings? This is likely to be a film that the whole extended family can enjoy around the holidays. Parton is lovely, talented and funny while the rest of the cast compliments her well. How nice to see McDowall and in a comedic role. The look, sound, and pace of the movie is also pleasing. Be a lesser angel to your own loved ones and find this one for them.
  • More for Dolly's fans than for those who crave Roddy McDowell.

    Light hearted with a ton of clich├ęs, but what part of Christmas Movie don't you understand. Ingredients include, 1 Single (widowed) Dad. 2 kids with attitude 1 Large chested country singer and a dash of Roddy McDowell as St Peter. Its predictable and almost too cute at times, and as another review suggests, Dolly's wardrobe is not exactly classic Edith Head, but it does keep her in character.

    It'll leave you happier than hours of TV crime, deceit,violence, or Jerry Springer. (BUT so will Bourbon & Prozac for those who feel they are above the "Non Classic" Xmas fare)
  • neilc4220 December 2004
    I liked the movie. Predictable but entertaining. I'll have to admit, I'm a Dolly fan! She always plays good parts. Even in Nine to Five, she meant well in everything she did. The actors did an OK job of portraying their characters. CLEAN except for a few shots of Dolly. Language is fairly clean except for the word dam-it. Unfortunately it is all too true that the real world today focuses on the job, career, kids are left to fend for themselves, parents don't know how to be parents, etc. I would watch it again. Sometimes I think my grown up kids could learn some things, even from a simple movie like this one.

    Better than some of the trash out there these days.
  • This movie is a must see for all people, whether you are a Dolly fan or not. It's more than a Christmas time movie...it's about what's really important in life....family, love, understanding,friendship..enveloped by a Christmas time setting. Families should sit together and watch this film...and singles should listen closely to the title song....open your eyes....you, too, may find your "unlikely angel." And, of course, Dolly is in wonderful form and voice and she treats us to several songs in this film! Shout out question,,,,does anyone know if Dolly has recorded the title song? I've looked everywhere but cannot seem to find it recorded. If anyone knows please let me know as this is a song which we should all listen to over and over again.
  • I had never seen dolly in a movie,until seeing 9 to 5 and that was very good,but this movie,I'm not a great lover of this type of film and was apprehensive about,but after a couple of minutes and hearing dolly's fantastic voice I was completely sold. The film is the usual type,but dolly make it come to life. I go to nearly everyone of dolly's shows when she come to england.I would recommend this to any dolly fan,it's the best. The songs and the acting ability show by dolly is very good,she is a born actress of the highest quality. Long may she adorn the silvery screen and keep her fans happy we could be better it we had dolly over in england

    Peter Mckay
  • Warning: Spoilers
    This was on network TV last night. Dolly Parton produced it and wrote two songs for it, which she sings. I like Dolly Parton, she is incurably cute with her distinctive grin and that double-wide across her chest. She is really the whole show here and if you don't like Dolly Parton, I don't think you will enjoy this movie that takes place partly in Heaven with St Peter.

    Dolly Parton is Ruby Diamond, guitar-playing country singer who seems to pick the wrong guys. She finds hers with a woman in his truck outside the honky-tonk one night and, distracted she almost hits a deer in the road as she drives home. Instead she crashes into a tree and the next thing we know she is confronted by St Peter (Roddy McDowall) and walking on clouds. But she hasn't lived the kind of life that would get her wings and into Heaven right away, so she is given a second chance, to go back and accomplish a task within a certain deadline. Can anyone guess whether she meets the goal??

    SPOILERS FOLLOW. She is unceremoniously dropped from the sky into someone's yard, dressed as a resident of the Alps. She is there because they need a nanny, which she also happens to have references for, she gets the job. But her task is to unite the family, father, daughter, and son, all unhappy after the death of mom. Thaings are complicated by Ruby's attraction to the dad, after all she still feels young and wants her chance at a good man. But that isn't an option, she is already dead, she finally manages to unite the dad with his assistant, the two children are happy, Ruby meets her deadline by maybe a minute or two. See, I told you she would!

    (NB - It was fun seeing Allison Mack of recent Smallville fame as the daughter Sarah, here only 13 or 14 during filming.)
  • This is one of the best junk movies of all time -- a complete howler. Watching the constant changes of costume -- every single one of which grossly accentuates Ms. Parton's already overly prominent most famous assets (would you hire a nanny dressed like that?) -- is alone worth the price of a rental. Add a screenplay full of clunker lines, a supporting cast earnestly trying to make something of this syrupfest, and, best of all, a wildly retro concept of heaven, and you've got the ingredients for a movie so excruciatingly awful that, by some miracle of transference, it's really rather sublime.
  • Prismark1020 October 2014
    Dolly Parton has shown enough charm over the years to have developed a sideline as an actress. She may not have great range but films such as Unlikely Angel are a good display of her acting talents.

    Ruby is a small town country music singer who dies in a road crash. At the pearly gates Angel Peter (Roddy McDowall) tells her that in order to gain her wings she must go back to earth as a nanny to help a widower and his dysfunctional family over the Christmas holidays.

    The father is too busy at work, the teenage daughter is getting rebellious, the younger son spends too much time on video games.

    Ruby has short time to get the family to bond but every time she thinks she has got them together, something goes wrong and its back to square one. The film really thrives on Dolly's charms and a few songs help. The Christmas setting gives it a schmaltzy feel, its a decent if predictable television film.
  • Rebounding from her first foray into seasonal TV-movie fare (the forgettable "Smoky Mountain Christmas" from 1986), Dolly Parton tries again with this holiday-themed, sentimental confection...and does a very commendable job. A down-on-her-luck singer named Ruby Diamond (!) gets herself into a fatal car wreck and is later turned away from Heaven by St. Peter until she earns her wings on Earth by bringing a dysfunctional family together (under the guise of a cleavage-baring nanny). The brood consists of a widower father (the eternally-constipated Brian Kerwin), his snotty teenage daughter and alienated young son (who joins Dolly in a piano-and-guitar duet on "Jingle Bells"!). Dolly doesn't have to work hard at this role--the writers have already supplied Ruby with an angelic disposition that is hard to humbug, a background in country music, and childhood memories that just reek of smoky mountain holidays in Tennessee. Director Michael Switzer keeps Dolly feisty and funny throughout, and her rapport with saint Roddy McDowall is sweet, but the movie isn't very enticing on an emotional level. The kids merit little interest, the relationships between the adults is occasionally unclear, and small details such as where Dolly hangs up her fabulous wardrobe remain sketchy at best.
  • i wanted to see this first movie when it came on lifetime but i was really to busy to see it.i mean i'm 12 years old and i like this movie.i mean it's a real family tradition movie this is my third favorite dolly parton movie of course number 2 being 9 to 5 and my first being stragiht talk but i mean this movie it isn't like the other dolly parton movies.i really liked this movie and i would recommand it to dollly parton fans.
  • This is a highly enjoyable tale of a family who has distanced themselves from one another after the death of their mother and wife. Dolly Parton does an excellent job of country singer Ruby Diamond who dies in a car accident while trying not to run over a young deer. This act of selflessness gives her the chance to progress into Heaven rather than Hell, as long as she can complete one task by midnight of Christmas Eve... to bring the broken and grieving family back together.

    In the true nature of this type of Christmas tale trials and tribulations are thrown in her way. What sets this above most of this ilk is the quality of the story, which isn't overly melodramatic but humorous and witty. And the cast, which works well together, is superb with the comedic elements of the script, especially Roddy McDowell as Saint Peter.

    As Christmas flicks go this is one of the best and well worth a watch - it should easily put a smile on your face.

    It's also a bonus that Dolly Parton's wardrobe is stitched together to show off every one of her other obvious assets...

    This is a film that I would recommend to Crimbo lovers and romantics alike - also if you have an interest in anything paranormal or slightly religious or like a good laugh then this could be for you. At least it's a good way to waste an hour and a half.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Dolly plays Ruby Diamond, a less-than-successful country-western bar singer. She dies too soon in an auto accident, after swerving to miss a deer, and becomes sort of an "Angel Second Class". If she doesn't win her wings by 12 midnight Christmas Eve, by doing something "angelic", she may not get to Heaven at all. Not exactly Frank Capra, but very pleasant to watch for "Dolly Fans". (If you aren't one, then you won't like this made-for-TV movie at all.) The story is extremely predictable. There's a lonely family (a dad and two young teenagers) that doesn't celebrate Christmas, because their mom has passed away. Both kids are really too old for a nanny, so she becomes the housekeeper. The father's work relationship with a very nice co-worker is not quite romantic enough and needs to be helped along. Roddy McDowall plays St. Peter and he shows up cleverly in many "Earthly" places. Dolly "pops out" of most of her costumes, of course. Dolly gets to sing a song or two and makes the angelic "Hallelujah" choir at the end. A "squeaky-clean" made for TV movie. Often plays on "Lifetime" and similar channels in December. Enjoyable lightweight Christmas cheer, all the way.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Dolly takes on all three of Julie Andrews' nanny roles as a dead country and western singer who must reunite a family to get her angel wings. After St. Peter (Roddy McDowall) sends her crashing back down to earth in Maria Von Trapp Alps courtier, Dolly takes on the role of nanny for widower Brian Kerwin's two unruly children. Kerwin knows from the start that this nanny is totally different, much like Charles Shaugnessy did with Fran Drescher on the TV series "The Nanny". Like Mr. Sheffield and Miss Fine, there are romantic innuendos, which threatens Parton's Ruby Diamond risking losing her wings. It's all overly sentimental, but with Dolly in the lead, it's not boring. She gets to sing, too, which would make the most maudlin TV movie entertaining. There's some fun moments that engage the viewer in laughter, which makes the film most watchable in spite of the fact that the story has been told many time over before.

    Kerwin and the actors playing the kids do admirable jobs, but it's Dolly's show all the way. She doesn't overkill the niceness. Roddy McDowall is amusing in a dual role. Some of the how to get to heaven theories might upset some people of set beliefs, but like "Heaven Can Wait", "Defending Your Life" and "What Dreams May Come", it's simply a message of hope.
  • Dolly Parton's performance in this laughable Christmas fairytale is more wooden than the log ride at Dollywood. It's bad enough that Dolly has very limited acting ability, but did she did think it was appropriate to play an angel from heaven whose wings are stuffed under the front of her blouse? Her holiday-festive tops were a bit revealing. They could have fit three wise men and a donkey on that rack. If Dolly had been the ghost of Christmas Present, Tiny Tim would have gotten more than a Christmas goose out of Mr. Scrooge.

    The angst-ridden teen daughter is more than atrocious in her part. The heartbroken, jaded dad is prone to saying things like, "My schedule is too busy to go get a Christmas tree dammit." Oh, that Dad -- he is such a jerk -- and he can't act.

    Listen, Hollywood, they already made It's A Wonderful Life 50 years ago -- let it go, let it go.

  • bcm-229 December 2001
    Yawn... an amazing silly story and questionable actors.

    It's a real cheap plot and sort of a lousy christmas story - You will burst into tears about any money spend on this flick.

    Please don't waste Your time with such a movie.
  • There is one bit in this film that made it worthwhile seeing. Dolly guilts the father into bringing the kids to chop down a Christmas tree. The situation devolves into a family squabble. Dolly is left standing alone near the tree. The tree guy comes over and says, Where do you want this, lady? And Dolly gestures over to the squabbling family, and says, Over there with the Waltons.

    Other than that line, Unlikely Angel isn't much of a film. Roddy McDowall is always worth seeing. He was always such a professional, even when in a clinker such as this. Unfortunately, McDowall isn't the star of this show--I believe that role is reserved for Dolly's over-sized chest, which is barely contained by some of the tackiest outfits seen this side of professional wrestling.

    I think this film falls into the category I think of as: Harmless Christmas Stuff.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    You'd think that this was a Christmas movie full of love, glory glory hallelujah and Jesus, but Jesus doesn't even make a cameo. Ummmm, hello?!? A Christmas story without Jesus? Yeah, that's an oxymoron. The word Christmas means Jesus more. There was no *Jesus more in this film.

    And St. Peter, in which I use the term "Saint" loosely because he promotes bingo which is GAMBLING, he has hair dipped in cement and I don't think that's right. And he's so puny when in reality he was a giant. That's why God made him the bouncer.

    The ONLY thing that made sense in this film was Dolly Parton's breasts.

    *Christ = Jesus. Mas = More. So Jesus more.
  • Although this film is unfortunatley not available in England for some reason, I did see it a couple of years back when it was shown on TV. Whilst focusing on certain happenings around Christmas, the message that Dolly Parton gets of that she should not be selfish and always think of ourselves should extend to anyday. My wife and myself found this to be a charming film with a sincere message. Being given the chance to bring a family back together at Christmas is what Dolly Parton gets and with help from Roddy MacDowell, who plays an unusual portrail of St Peter,and giving enough humour not to make the film to serious is one I would like to add to my collection of films to watch over again.