Director: Corbin Bernsen
Running Time: 103 Minutes
“And the Lord Said, ‘Ah, fuck it’.”
– TropicalMary, During a movie marathon
Gwyneth Hayden (Lacey Chabert) has a peaking career, good friends and seems to have her life together. Or at least she would have her life together if she could find Mr. Right. She’s painfully single and hitting her dirty 30s. After listening to too many infomercials, she decides to join a dating site and try her hand at online dating. She joins christianmingle.com in the hopes of finding her one and only. Just one little problem… She is of faux faith and seems to think that having been baptised and read the illustrated children’s Bible makes her a Christian.
There is nothing remarkable to mention here. Chabert is a b-grade actress and will always overact a part with exaggerated smiles, frowns and hair-flips. Jonathan Patrick Moore plays her love interest Paul Wood. For the purposes of the character and the tired Christian rhetoric being pushed in this film, he did a great job! I believed that he was a good southern boy who loves his mama and respects his papa. Gwyneth’s boss was annoying and her strong, black, female co-worker was entirely clichéd and the actress type-cast. Pam (Saidah Arrika Ekulona), however, was the only character that seemed to be rational and normal.
The Sneaky Squirrel and I both knew that this was going to be bad, what with it being a made for TV type thing (in this case VoD), but never would we have thought that a movie would be able to assault and offend all of our sensibilities within the first 10 minutes. We’re two of the most unbelieving, polytheists you’ll ever find but we’re open-minded and thought we’d give the movie a chance. Maybe Christ’s love would forge a way forward for these souls. It didn’t.
Let me preface this by telling you that both the Sneaky Squirrel and I were in pain the next day. Initially, I thought it was my stomach but upon further investigation and inquiry, we realised that our diaphragms were in pain. Not from laughing or something fun. No. We hurt because we literally cringed through this entire 103 minutes monstrosity. So, what was wrong with the film? You mean other than the obvious plot, unimaginative characters and bubblegum premise? This movie was simply offensive.
Not offensive to me, the non-believer. No, it was offensive to every Christian out there who walks their faith everyday and whose faith allows them to do better and be better. Gwyneth is a whiney bitch with the world at her feet who has no problem insulting her friends. The only thing that she can think of is “not being alone under the mistletoe next Christmas”. She isn’t concerned with the strange misogynistic undertones in her office or the fact that she’s lying to someone to get a date. Don’t get me wrong, we all know this plot arch. She will be caught out and the love interest will leave but then she’ll redeem herself and they’ll walk off into the sunset. Just don’t try to convince people that it’s a movie about a journey of spiritual discovery when it’s just like every other shitty romance out there. It may not have the sex or the profanity but it’s no different.
Both Paul and Gwyneth are stereotypes and impossible to relate to. They come across as caricatures with senseless one-liners and missing dialogue. The movie is cheesy and infuriating but worst of all, it wasn’t even good at advertising Christian Mingle as a site. Everything about this film is a fail. Quoting a few lines from Matthew 7 or Corinthians does not a Christian make. All the forms of Christianity portrayed in this film are religious hypocrisy, not just the character who’s lying.
The thing that annoyed me the most was the soundtrack. I expected the music to be of a Christian persuasion and there to be a rock ballad or two but I found that the lyrics actually offended me when used in conjunction with the characters on screen. Again, the protagonist has a perfect life but I’m being forced to hear a song about never giving up on yourself and your faith when you’re down and out with nowhere to turn. That makes me think of survivors of genocide, AIDS orphans and women living in destitution, in societies less liberal than our own; not a middle class, 30-something with everything she could ever need.
I would have had more respect for the film if Gwyneth and Paul didn’t end up together, and saw her teaching Spanish kids in a very contrived understanding of what Mexican villages looks like. Then it would have been a movie about personal spirituality and faith and finding “Him”, like the poster would have you believe.
My Rating: 1/5
Don’t get Christian Mingle from Amazon.com
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