Blessed with the from-on-high concept of Whoopi Goldberg bringing rock ‘n’ roll to a nuns’ chorus, this infectious little throwaway – originally seen as a vehicle for Bette Midler – has a warm-hearted story and engaging premise.
Goldberg plays Deloris, a Reno lounge singer who witnesses a murder by her mobster b.f. Vince (Harvey Keitel) and ends up on the lam. The detective (Bill Nunn) trying to bust Vince pops Deloris into a San Francisco convent for safekeeping, where one-time Catholic school girl promptly outrages the mother superior (Maggie Smith).
Deloris and the movie find their respective callings about halfway in when she’s asked to take over the convent’s dreadful choir, introducing 1960s rock to the nuns through adapted renditions of ‘My Guy’ (becoming ‘My God’).
It’s a divine concept, and after a weak start director Emile Ardolino (Directorty Dancing, Three Men and a Little Lady) milks it for all the laughs it’s worth, while deriving requisite warmth from Goldberg and Smith’s solid performances.