Coltrane plays a portly priest appointed Pope due to a clerical mix-up: Father Albini is a smiling front-man for the masons, mafiosi and gunrunners who run the Vatican Bank, while Father Albinizi (Coltrane) is a rock'n'rolling, really rather useless priest holed up in a rural orphanage filled with photogenic bambini. Like John Goodman's King Ralph, Pope Dave I must locate reserves of greatness beneath his unpromising exterior; discover that the love of a good woman is incompatible with his office; and finally waddle back to obscurity. The Vatican he inherits is staffed by chain-smoking, poker-playing prelates with hip-flasks under their robes. Coltrane manages his few moments of Papal grandeur with something approaching true dignity, whether it's sweeping out the money-lenders from the Bank, delivering an impromptu sermon on the hellfire awaiting a jobsworth, or administering extreme unction. There are many good laughs, albeit of a rather simple-minded nature, but even by its own ludicrous standards the plot unravels helplessly towards the end. A pontiff's egg.
Cast and crew
Peter Richardson, Pete Richens
Robbie Coltrane Beverly D'Angelo Herbert Lom Alex Rocco Paul Bartel Balthazar Getty William Hootkins Robert Stephens Annette Crosbie Salvatore Cascio John Sessions Peter Richardson Adrian Edmondson