I Got Saved For Ten Bucks!
The movie has interested me for a while, since I saw it mentioned on Adam Cleaveland's blog and the TV ads. I was especially looking forward to the lampooning of the typical US fundagelicals. Given the alleged fundagelical conspiracy that swayed the recent election it seemed like waiting until now makes it even more relevant.
With movies these days I usually check out Rotten Tomatoes for a thorough rundown of the spectrum of reviews. At 59% it just marginally fails the "fresh" test (60% positive reviews) but it's certainly not putrescent like, say, Seed of Chucky (25%). Based on the range of reviews, it seems like it really requires some knowledge of the Christian faith to "get" the movie. The hip, secular reviewers seem completely bemused by the movie.
Most reviews love the first half of the movie, which is the more delicious skewering of the fundagelical mindset. Pastor Skip, the school principal, is a dead on composite of all the fundagelical youth pastors I've met and seen in action. The wannabe hip talk is particularly cringeworthy: "Alright! Alright! Who's down with G-O-D?", "Let's get our Christ on, let's kick it Jesus-style!" (that last one is pronounced Jaaay-zus, by the way).
The second half, according to a lot of reviewers, particularly the ones that didn't like the movie, is something of a letdown. I think this is because, rather than piling on, the movie shows how the caricatured fundagelicals (mostly Pastor Skip and Mandy Moore's character) have their own problems and humanizes them a great deal. While this makes for a less dark movie (this ain't Heathers, people) it brings us around to the point that all our lives are grey, not black or white.
p.s. I was thinking Eva Amurri (Cassandra, the very cute "bad" Jewish girl) looked familiar. Check out the IMDB entry, and there it is: she's Susan Sarandon's daughter. Yeah, it's not what you know, it's who you know...