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. 

TriStar Pictures

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.

TriStar Pictures

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.

TriStar Pictures

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.

TriStar Pictures

TriStar Pictures

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.

TriStar Pictures

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.

TriStar Pictures

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!

TriStar Pictures

TriStar Pictures

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.

You (yes, you) should follow JM on Twitter! And check out the podcast Rewatchability.

Top Image: TriStar Pictures

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