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Overall Rating

Awesome: 22.37%
Worth A Look46.05%
Just Average: 22.37%
Pretty Crappy: 2.63%
Sucks: 6.58%

6 reviews, 40 user ratings

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by Preston Jones

"What would Jesus say?"
3 stars

The second batter in a spring line-up of satires with a watered-down lemonade bite, Saved! purports to be a razor-edged comedy about the fanatically religious and their myopic hosannas; The Passion of the Mean Girls if you will.

Granted, a send-up of “mainstream” Christian rock and being “saved” from lives of sin and damnation carry an extra dollop of bitters in this neck of the woods – I don’t know what cracks me up more: that the filmmakers were eerily dead on in a number of worship scenes or that area youth groups could likely storm the theaters for this movie just as they did for The Passion of the Christ . I suppose the joke’s on them in either case.
Starring a who’s who of the edgy Hollywood chillun, Saved! has many ingratiating and rewarding performances, not the least of which is Mandy Moore’s turn as the self-righteous religious bitch Hilary Faye in what will likely be the performance of her career. Mandy, A Walk To Remember is officially forgiven. She appears to be having way more fun than she should tweaking her good girl image – would that the filmmakers had devoted equal time to the caustic Cassandra (Eva Amurri – daughter of Susan Sarandon), Saved! could’ve been the evangelical equivalent of Heathers
Or perhaps producer Michael Stipe (yes, that Michael Stipe) put it best about Saved! – “It's like those monster vampire high school kind of movies, only here the monsters are Jesus-freak teenagers.” Hmmm
The film centers on the ironically named Christian high school student Mary (Jena Malone), whose boyfriend Dean (Chad Faust) confesses to her that he’s in fact gay. Understandably troubled by this news and having recently seen a vision of Jesus, Mary decides the only way to “degayify” her beloved is to sacrifice her virginity (don’t worry, J.C. said it’s OK) so that Dean may be cured.
Aside from the slight hitch that Mary becomes pregnant and Dean remains gay, her senior year is full of adventure as she attempts to disguise her horrific sin from the Christian Angels, headed up by the willfully religious Hilary Faye (Moore). Her “differently-abled” brother, Roland (Macaulay Culkin) whose personality is analogous to steel wool, takes the amped-up religiosity at arm’s length, something that endears him to the only Jewish girl in school, Cassandra (Amurri).
While the first half of director/co-writer Brian Dannelly’s film skates dangerously close to Election levels of satirical brilliance, the movie doesn’t practice what it preaches; while bashing the religious zealots, those who would rebel against Jesus aren’t held to any satiric standards, thereby diluting the impact of Dannelly’s message. In addition, the film’s ending feels arbitrary and unearned; a false happy note given the wicked snipes that have proceeded (“There’s only one reason a Christian girl could be going into that clinic…” “To set a pipe bomb?”)
Brian Urban and Dannelly’s screenplay is barbed at times, downright maudlin at others; fortunately, the filmmakers have a cast in place that is adroit at handling these tricky tonal shifts. Malone, Moore, Amurri, Culkin and Martin Donovan as the dorkular pastor Skip all shine in individual moments. Again, had the film focused more on Amurri and Moore, Saved! would’ve been a comedy flick for the ages.

Ultimately, Saved! is as consistent as the other teen comedy that took a swing at the status quo, Mean Girls. Like that previous film, Saved! roars out of the gate only to trip at the finish line and tries to have its communion wafer and eat it too – don’t worry, we’ll forgive you this time. Jesus would want us to.

link directly to this review at https://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=8517&reviewer=304
originally posted: 06/27/04 20:29:27
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OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2004 Sundance Film Festival. For more in the 2004 Sundance Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2004 SXSW Film Festival. For more in the 2004 South By Southwest Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2004 Philadelphia Film Festival. For more in the 2004 Philadelphia Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2004 Edinburgh Film Festival. For more in the 2004 Edinburgh Film Festival series, click here.

User Comments

10/03/09 art TERRIBLE! 1 stars
5/08/09 art EVERYONE IS SO HAMMY! 2 stars
3/27/08 SamanthaPayntr very funny, i loved macaulay culkin and Eva Amurri, they were the best!! 4 stars
2/11/08 art A REAL DEEP DRAMAEDY MANDY MOORE IS A HAM as HILLIARY FAYE but the star is miss malone 4 stars
11/10/06 David Pollastrini all the women in this film are hot! 5 stars
12/02/05 Jennifer S. One of the funniest and most underrated movies I have seen in a long time! 5 stars
8/21/05 sarah fun...creative satire...takes risks.....cute 4 stars
8/02/05 Buford my nads are yor friends. 5 stars
6/22/05 Satan Pretty good, but could've used a lesbian subplot between Mandy and Jena. Oh, yeeeeah... 4 stars
6/14/05 tj TXJ 4 stars
6/07/05 rebecca very good i love it and would see it again 5 stars
6/06/05 Cordy i thought it was great! dunno y sum christians h8ted it 4 stars
5/01/05 DM Sweet comedy with a charming cast. 4 stars
11/20/04 conor the great wusses out in the end 3 stars
11/08/04 Taylor Fladgate Whew...too much like my youth to be funny... 3 stars
9/26/04 alicia quite funny if you can empathsize, but completely falls apart with a hollywood prom ending 3 stars
9/09/04 John Aster Habig Get it on DVD October 5th along with Fahrenheit 9/11 5 stars
8/27/04 Naka Funny, intelligent look at Christianity. Not offensive to the intelligent crowd. 5 stars
8/27/04 Roy Again The Jewish/Muslim version of this will never be made. 1 stars
8/26/04 Maureen McDevitt WWJD? He'd laugh. 4 stars
7/17/04 legend A funny look at Christianity but nothing too over the top. I really enjoyed it. 4 stars
7/03/04 Kris Hate fest toward Christians 1 stars
7/02/04 John Aster Habig an honor to satire 5 stars
6/22/04 Kristen The best movie I've ever seen! 5 stars
6/18/04 ajay i laughed quite a bit... very funny. 5 stars
6/18/04 John Aster Habig i have seen many people like those in this film it is a great year for intelligent teen com 5 stars
6/18/04 BrianWilly Dark, wicked humor with a necessary message as well. 5 stars
6/16/04 Joe Parts were amatuerish but definately a must see 4 stars
6/16/04 wintermute not a waste of time, but mediocre at best. amurri was a nice surprise 3 stars
6/12/04 Pretentious Bastard The ending's annoying, but it's pretty entertaining - 3.5/5 3 stars
6/12/04 Lurlene Jacobs Love the Moozlem, Hate the Moozlem-isms 1 stars
6/09/04 carlybarly MY FAVORITE MOVIE OF THE YEAR!!! GREAT!!! 5 stars
6/03/04 James Zucker super effort by director and cameramen 5 stars
6/02/04 JERRY silly 1 stars
5/29/04 Jeffrey Excellent movie 5 stars
5/26/04 Ray The master of teen flicks 5 stars
4/23/04 Cameron Slick Down with the commercial perversions of Pentecostal churches today, it's a funny movie. 4 stars
3/29/04 Megan Really really really really funny. 5 stars
3/28/04 Betty Bower The best teen movie ever! 5 stars
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  28-May-2004 (R)
  DVD: 05-Oct-2004



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