Saved!

"OK"

Saved! Review


Saved! is just the cutest little Christian comedy, simply the sweetest wee satire you'll ever see - but this is a sugar cookie leaking arsenic. Seemingly just another teen movie, Saved! goes into cinematically uncharted territory right off the bat as the teenage narrator, Mary (Jena Malone), says "I've been born again my whole life." We then get her story of how she, as a born-again Christian, couldn't accept that her boyfriend, Dean (Chad Faust), was gay as he claimed. Deciding that it was God's will, Mary seduces Dean, whose parents send him to a gay deprogramming clinic, while Mary is left pregnant.

This is all just prelude to a by-the-numbers story wherein Mary, a member of the coolest clique at American Eagle Christian High - the Christian Jewels, who have a band and their own pendants - gets booted from paradise by the clique's leader, Hilary Faye (Mandy Moore), as tan as she is vicious, after Mary starts questioning their judgmental attitudes. Fortunately, there's a pair of rebels to cushion Mary's fall: Hilary Faye's wheelchair-bound brother and a secret non-Christian, Roland (Macauley Culkin), and his girlfriend, the school's "only Jewish," Cassandra (Eva Amurri). While Culkin's sly, sleepy asides provide some of Saved!'s better moments, Amurri is just as much a shambling, bug-eyed, and hyperactive mess as she was in The Banger Sisters (if it's not overacting, it ain't acting, apparently). Mary has to hide her pregnancy from the school's eagle-eyed Biblethumpers, enduring Hilary Faye's hypocritical assaults, and hoping that the cute missionary skater and pastor's kid Patrick (Patrick Fugit) will ask her to prom. Will Mary keep the baby? Will Hilary Faye be allowed to be such a bitch? What would Jesus do? And will there be a shopping montage?

Saved!'s targets are about as big and broad as the giant Jesus statue that lords over the school. Thus, we get the pregnant teenager named Mary, a bad double entendre about the missionary position, and much hand wringing about intolerance. This doesn't mean the film is never funny, instead, it's quite full of bright little moments, but it does mean the jokes often have little sting. Writer/director Brian Dannelly never delves into the born-again background, panning instead over shots of Jesus-happy teens and getting easy laughs out of Martin Donovan's surprisingly empathetic Pastor Skip, who relates to the kids via shopworn MTV slang ("I was thinking something a little less gangsta.").

The satire never quite scores because it doesn't dig deep enough. Hillary's spite and anger are never explained, as we don't see her getting any juicy kick out of shunning those less Christian than herself; she's simply a hypocritical jerk, and one who just happens to be a Christian - which is likely the film's point, namely that evangelical teens are, after all, just teens. This gives the film an unfortunately easy excuse to stick to standard teen formula - meet-cutes, easily-resolved moral dilemmas, a climactic emotional prom night - but it also allows it to be sneakier with its critique, possibly even sneaker than it knows.

By the time Saved! has come to an end, the hypocrites have been unmasked, the protagonists brought happily together, it seems like too easy a gloss: The filmmakers don't seem to understand how serious their allegations are and seem to want to appease both Christians and secular humanists alike. The fact remains that most of these characters have belief structures which are as rickety as rotted wood and have just come crashing down. Are we supposed to believe that they will go on as good evangelicals with unbelievers and outed gays in their midst? This is one teen movie that might actually deserve a sequel, just to see what happens next.

Now with wings!



Saved!

Facts and Figures

Run time: 92 mins

In Theaters: Thursday 16th September 2004

Box Office USA: $8.8M

Distributed by: MGM

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 61%
Fresh: 86 Rotten: 56

IMDB: 6.9 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Starring: as Mary, as Hilary Faye, as Roland, as Patrick, as Tia, as Cassandra, as Pastor Skip, as Lillian, as Dean, Elizabeth Thai as Veronica, as Herself, as Mitch

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Trumbo Movie Review

Trumbo Movie Review

An entertaining film about sobering true events, this is the story of notorious screenwriter Dalton...

Goosebumps Movie Review

Goosebumps Movie Review

Mixing the action, comedy and horror from novelist R.L. Stein's books into a family-friendly package,...

Dad's Army Movie Review

Dad's Army Movie Review

The beloved 1970s British sit-com gets the big screen treatment, although there's been very little...

Spotlight Movie Review

Spotlight Movie Review

This film demonstrates that you don't need guns to make an exciting thriller. Based on...

13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi Movie Review

13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi Movie Review

Not the subtlest director working in Hollywood, Michael Bay brings his surging machismo to this...

Dirty Grandpa Movie Review

Dirty Grandpa Movie Review

There's nothing clever about this deliberately rude and vulgar comedy, but certain audiences will find...

The Big Short Movie Review

The Big Short Movie Review

Smart and snappy, this comedy is one of the scariest films of the year, using...

Advertisement
The 5th Wave Movie Review

The 5th Wave Movie Review

Also based on the first in a trilogy of post-apocalyptic teen novels, this thriller feels...

Ride Along 2 Movie Review

Ride Along 2 Movie Review

Ice Cube and Kevin Hart reteam for a sequel no one really asked for, following...

Room Movie Review

Room Movie Review

One of the most extraordinary films of the year, this drama cleverly weaves in events...

Creed Movie Review

Creed Movie Review

While this film is basically Rocky VII, it's also much more than that, and perhaps...

A Perfect Day Movie Review

A Perfect Day Movie Review

An irreverent comedy in the style of the original M.A.S.H., this wartime romp takes an...

Partisan Movie Review

Partisan Movie Review

With his feature debut, young Australian filmmaker Ariel Kleiman tells a creepy story about a...

The Revenant Movie Review

The Revenant Movie Review

A wrenching saga of survival and revenge, Alejandro G. Inarritu's new epic is just as...

The Hateful Eight Movie Review

The Hateful Eight Movie Review

Quentin Tarantino is a filmmaker who simply can't be ignored, especially when he lobs a...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.