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Albert Brooks proves there's laughs after death with this almost heavenly comedy--almost heaven as in Judgment City, where recently perished Daniel Miller (Brooks) learns whether he is worthy of advancing to a higher plane of existence or will be sent back to earth for another incarnation.

His fate will be determined in a very special trial, during which scenes from his life are replayed on a giant screen. "Isn't it realistic?" a judge asks. "It makes some people nauseous." While the steely prosecutor (Lee Grant) will try to prove that Daniel failed in life to face his fears and insecurities, his glad-handing, reassuring defender (Rip Torn) will argue on behalf of this hapless "little brain" (a Judgment City term for residents of earth).

As Woody Allen did for the future in Sleeper, so does Brooks create an original vision of the afterlife. In Judgment City, white-robed residents can eat as much as they want without guilt or fear of gaining weight. They can also visit the Past Lives Pavilion, where they are greeted by a hologram of--who else--Shirley MacLaine.

Daniel finds himself touched by an angel. Meryl Streep gives an enchanting performance as Julia, whose exemplary life is in stark contrast to his. During her trial, the court watches in rapture as she saves not only children, but a cat from a burning building.

Daniel and Julia are a match made in Judgment City, but first Daniel must summon up the courage to express his true feelings for her, or she will surely advance without him.

Defending Your Life is Brooks's most ambitious film and, with Mother, his most accessible. --Donald Liebenson

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CastMeryl Streep, Albert Brooks, Rip Torn, Roger Behr, Beth Black
Genre:  Comedy
DVD Release Date:  April 3, 2001
Runtime:  112 minutes
Studio:  Warner Home Video
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review by . January 27, 2005
posted in Movie Hype
This extremely entertaining film focuses on Albert Brooks as a man who dies in an accident and ends of in a stop-off point between Earth and Heaven. It turns out that when you die, your life is reviewed and if you merit it, you proceed to Heaven otherwise you are sent back to Earth to live your life again. The problem with Brooks is that he has been sent back so much that this is his last chance or he will be reduced to nothingness.    Defending Brooks' life is his lawyer played …
Defending Your Life (1991)
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