Dear God (1996)


Dear God (1996)

Tom Turner is a con man, defrauding people from their money with a variety of two-bit hustles. One night he makes the mistake of attempting to hustle some undercover cops, and finds himself in court faced with the dilemma of either going to jail or getting a real job. Choosing to stay out of jail, he gets a job at the post office working in their Dead Letter Office helping to sort Dead Letters (i.e. mail which, for whatever reason, can't be delivered). Some of the mail he recieves can't be delivered because it's addressed to God, and he accidentally answers (sending them money in the process). This starts the ball rolling as more of his co-workers get in on the idea of helping people by answering "God" mail.
IMDb  5.5 /10
Director Garry Marshall
Writer Warren Leight
Writer Ed Kaplan
Release Date1996-11-01
Runtime1h 52mins
Content RatingPG (PG)
Awards1 nomination.
CompanyRysher Entertainment
Rebecca Frazen
Gloria McKinney
Herman Dooly
Whispering Wendy
Ramon (as Felix A. Pire)
Federal Prosecutor
Judge Kits Van Heynigan
State Judge

Dear God (film)

Dear God is a 1996 American comedy film distributed by Paramount Pictures, directed by Garry Marshall and starring Greg Kinnear and Laurie Metcalf.

The song of the same title by Midge Ure was used in the film's theatrical trailer, but is not featured in the film itself.


Tom Turner, a con artist, is arrested for working cons, something he is doing to pay off his gambling debt to a loan shark. He is sentenced by the judge to find a full-time job by the end of the year and keep it, or be sent to jail.

Tom finds work at the post office sorting mail in the dead letter office. Surrounded by quirky coworkers, Tom finds out what happens to letters addressed to the Easter Bunny, Elvis Presley, and God, and out of curiosity reads one of the letters sent to God. While reading the letter, sent by a needy single mother, Tom accidentally drops his paycheck; it is mailed back to the single mother. When Tom comes to retrieve his paycheck, he sees the good it has done and leaves, not knowing that a burnt-out workaholic lawyer coworker has seen him doing so.

Believing Tom sent the money on purpose, the co-worker rallies the rest of the dead letter office workers to continue what Tom has started. Tom, becoming the unwilling leader of the group, starts answering more and more letters sent to the post office asking God for help. Hilarity ensues as the group answers more prayers, enriching people's lives, while Tom tries to find love with a coffee bar waitress and keep out of jail.


Main cast

  • Greg Kinnear as Tom Turner
  • Larry Miller as Judge (lower court)
  • Laurie Metcalf as Rebecca Frazen
  • Maria Pitillo as Gloria McKinney
  • Tim Conway as Herman Dooly
  • Anna Maria Horsford as Lucille Barnett
  • Hector Elizondo as Vladek Vidov
  • Jon Seda as Handsome
  • Roscoe Lee Browne as Idris Abraham
  • John Pinette as Junior
  • Coolio as Gerard
  • Toby Huss as Doubting Thomas Minister
  • Jack Klugman as Jemi
  • Rue McClanahan as Mom Turner
  • Stephanie Niznik as Emanda Maine
  • Israel Juarbe as Ernesto on Scaffold

Uncredited cameos

  • Garry Marshall as Preston Sweeney, Postmaster
  • David Hasselhoff as Himself
  • Tony Danza as Himself
  • Christopher Darden as Himself
  • Cassandra Peterson as Herself


Dear God received generally negative reviews from critics. Siskel & Ebert gave the film two thumbs down upon its release. James Berardinelli gave the film one star and explained, "At least after seeing this movie, I understand where the title came from – starting about thirty minutes into this interminable, unfunny feature, I began looking at my watch every few minutes and thinking, 'Dear God, is this ever going to end?' A sickeningly bad pastiche of much better pictures – It's a Wonderful Life, Miracle on 34th Street, and (believe it or not) Spartacus all leap to mind – Dear God is the worst excuse for a holiday film since Nora Ephron's hideous Mixed Nuts."

As of December 2020, film review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes had given the film a 12% positive rating, based on reviews from 34 critics. The consensus summarizes: "Dear God never had a prayer, with Greg Kinnear's angelic charisma weighted down by a screenplay bereft of wit but heavy on schmaltz."