At Home He's a Tourist

He fills his head with culture/ He gives himself an ulcer.

Monday, June 14, 2004


It's no Elmer Gantry, but Saved! is nevertheless a pretty solid satire of American born-againism. The screenwriters show familiarity with the particularities of the evangelical subculture, especially its sometimes pathetic attempts to be "relevant" by aping the lowest common denominator of secular pop culture. ("Jesus is in da house!" the pastor whoops at the school's opening day assembly, and his son is a Skateboarder for Jesus.) Some of the jokes are good. On the other hand, the movie's worldview is as simplistic as the biblical literalism it mocks. It shares the liberal prejudice that the marginalized are ipso facto more thoughtful and morally upright than conformists. The heroes of the film are a Jew, a gay, a disabled boy and an unwed mother. No one is likeable who doesn't to a greater or lesser extent reject traditional Christian teachings. And there's an annoyingly didactic bit at the end where the screenwriters use a couple of characters as mouthpieces to homilize in favor of diversity, tolerance, and moral ambiguity. All said, however, the movie passes the only test that matters, that of being entertaining.


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