Saturday, October 11, 2014

Believe Me: Comedy or Cringe-Inducing?

Review of the movie, "Believe Me."
Don't believe Sam (Alex Russell) (Photo: Riot Studios)
A new kind of faith-based film came to movie screens a couple of years ago called Blue Like Jazz which was based on the book by the same name by Christian author Donald Miller. It featured college kids drinking, some swearing and references to sex and sort of came and went without much fanfare. Currently in theaters is another faith-based film which features college kids drinking, some swearing…and no references to sex, that I can remember. However, those are not the issues that will make Christians cringe while watching it. Believe Me is an ambitious satire about Christians and even though the religious ones in the story are not the villains, their behavior will challenge you to re-think your own.

The story is about Sam (Alex Russell) and his college friends who…surprise…can’t afford college. Sam is ready to graduate and move on to law school when he finds out that his scholarship ran out months earlier. While attending a church service to impress a girl, Sam is mesmerized by a group of short-term missionaries who feel called to serve in…Hawaii. Like sheep going to slaughter, Sam witnesses the congregation giving money left and right for the cause. In no time, Sam has convinced his buddies Baker (Max Adler), Tyler (Sinqua Walls), and Pierce (Miles Fisher – a Tom Cruise look-alike) that the answer to their financial dreams to create their “ministry outreach” where they reach out for other’s people’s money and then keep it for themselves. In no time, the two-week plan turns into two months as a Ken (Christopher McDonald), a leader of the Cross Country ministry team, takes the “God Squad” under his wings to help them raise money for starving children in Africa. They gladly accept, but realize in a hurry that they can’t pass themselves off as Christians without some study. They learn that Christians:
  • Have different body postures during worship
  • Are “okay” with swearing if they shorten the four-letter words to just one letter.
  • Will drink wine and attend bars as long as their drinks are non-alcoholic
  • Will buy the dumbest t-shirts if the shirts talk about God