This Memorial Day weekend was an opportunity to watch a few movies I’ve wanted to see for a while. Saved! is a play on modern Christian schooling and born-again values. Good Christian Mary ends up pregnant (get it?) and devestated when a “vision” from God tells her to cure her “perfect Christian boyfriend” of his gay affliction. See folks, this is what happens when all you teach is abstinance — no one knows what a condom is.
As her super-Christian friend Hilary Faye abandons her, Mary starts abandoning her faith and turns to bad girl and social outcast Cassandra (get it?), the only Jew in the Baptist high school, and Hilary Faye’s brother Roland, who is paralyzed and in a wheelchair (get it?). Minister Skip, the “hip” servant of God, tries to do what is right while harboring uncouth feelings for Mary’s mom, and his son Patrick, who just got back from missionary work (get it?) is attracted to Mary and consoles her with his own brand of faith against his father’s wishes. Meanwhile Mary’s boyfriend is hauled off to a
degayifying err… – re-education facility. Where he is housed with another “troubled” gay roommate, of course.
The movie is clever with its names and clever with its characters, and really what it has going for it is its cleverness. It is very, very easy to parody Christian life by overdoing it, but Saved! instead goes for subtle, focusing more on simply presenting the life for what it is, with characters from all across the spectrum of faith, rather than throwing in too many needless gags and pokes at the establishment. Because when you think about it, Pastor Skip evaneglizing with rock music and calling people “dude?” That’s funny. A prom with a Christian rock band? That’s funny. Exorcism? Funny. For those of who who think such behaviors are absurd, the movie works. For those who find them less absurd, the movie can still work, with its different take on faith and humanity.
There is nothing new and extrordinary here, there are no great revelations, and the story is generally fairly straightforward without many twists or turns. But it succeeds in doing what it is trying to do, and it is a lot more restrained then one would ever have guessed it would be. Really, Christian-labeled teens should be the ones seeing this movie, but they won’t, because they generally do what they are told. Of course, what this movie is about is realizing that the people doing the telling don’t know any better than you do about what is right and wrong, and we should all be able to make such decisions for ourselves. Ironic, then, that the message won’t get through to those who need it most.
Also, the best lines in the film: “There is only one reason a Christian girl would be going to a the Planned Parenthood.” “To plant a pipe bomb?” “Okay, two reasons.”