The story of a man of God calling on divine intervention to resolve his clerical and domestic problems was implausible enough in 1947, when it was called The Bishop’s Wife and starred David Niven and Loretta Young as the troubled couple and Cary Grant — Mr. All-Time Movie Suave — as the angel. In the leaden, lugubrious remake, directed by Penny Marshall, heavenly Denzel Washington does his seraphic flirting with pop diva and, for a time, movie princess Whitney Houston. Washington was already tops in the acting and dreamboat categories, and Houston had proved she could hold viewers’ attention in The Bodyguard and Waiting to Exhale. But here, smothered in propriety, the two leads don’t get to show what made them stars (Courtney B. Vance is the straitlaced preacher). Neither the presence of raffish Gregory Hines as the real estate villain nor an occasional yo’-mama joke can turn this gruel into savory Christmas pudding.