Robert Downey Jr.'s Forgotten Weird And Gross Ghost Comedy
These days we tend to think of Robert Downey Jr. as one of the most bankable stars in Hollywood, as long as the project in no way involves hordes of talking CGI animals. But long before he was Tony Stark, RDJ made some pretty odd movies, and perhaps none were odder, grosser, or more ill-conceived than the 1989 supernatural comedy Chances Are, also starring Cybill Shepherd and Mary Stuart Masterson.
The story begins with a lawyer named Louie, played by Christopher Macdonald (AKA Shooter McGavin) who, despite the fact that this is a light-hearted comedy, gets hit by a car and killed in front of his pregnant wife (played by Shepherd) after like 10 minutes. Louie ends up in a vague, non-denominational afterlife where he arranges to be reincarnated as soon as possible.
But one of the angel-like bureaucrats accidentally forgets to give him the required “inoculation,” a giant syringe (seemingly full of carbonated urine) which would have ensured that he never recovered the memories of his former life.
Once on Earth, Louie 2.0 grows up to become Robert Downey Jr., graduates from Yale, and then … inadvertently hits on his own daughter. Yeah, feel free to turn back at any point, it’s not going to get any better from here.
Once his memories eventually come back, Louie tries to convince Cybill Shepherd of his true identity. When she rejects his claims, Louie wins her trust by (checks notes) hiding in her bedroom closet and violently pinning her down on the bed.
Meanwhile, the daughter still thinks she and Ghost Dad are an item, and Louie’s response to her sexual advances is, ickily, to parent her.
Meanwhile Cybill Shepherd changes her mind and starts hooking up with Robert Downey Jr. but she’s also in love with her best friend, and the whole thing becomes a disgusting mess.
In the end, Louie falls down a flight of stairs and ends up in the hospital where that same incompetent angel shows up to wipe his memory with, you guessed it, some kind of mystery needle. Literally moments later he’s back to making out with his goddamn daughter!
So it’s… a happy ending? Except for the fact that no one erases Cybill Shepherd’s memory, meaning that she is now burdened with the horrifying knowledge that her daughter’s boyfriend is really her dead husband. Say what you will about the flaws of Iron Man 2, at least it doesn’t try to make supernatural incest seem charming.
Top Image: TriStar Pictures