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Dogma
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Reviews & Ratings for
Dogma More at IMDbPro »

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141 out of 210 people found the following review useful:

I laughed till I cried (really)

10/10
Author: Zorro-3 from USA
15 January 2005

I always thought the phrase, "I laughed until I cried," was just an oxymoron. Until it happened to me. I watched Dogma: the funniest movie I have ever seen. The movie seemed designed specifically for my warped sense of humor. It was an incredible mesh of the high-brow and the low-brow.

It had one character who was extremely foul-mouthed, and kept making up hilarious obscene phrases. It also had a lot of perceptive, biting (and very funny) theological and social commentary.

For me, it was sort of like being tickled hard in the ribs for about an hour. When I reached the breath-taking climax of the film, the resolution was such a shock and was so unexpectedly emotional and I was so sore from all the laughing, I actually burst into tears. Now, dammit I am a grown man. I never do that. Not even for anything real, much less a movie. But it happened.

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120 out of 181 people found the following review useful:

simply fabulous--kevin smith rocks!

9/10
Author: revsonya from Claremont, CA
15 May 2001

While both funny and frightening, this film is more than just a comedy with gratuitous violence and (bad)-language. It's a theological reflection...and a call to the Church to focus on things that matter (like living life to the fullest, helping those in need, honoring and respecting all, expecting respect in return) rather than those that don't (like...well, dogma [doctrines/church laws] or any belief that causes us to "draw a line in the sand," condemning to hell or perdition any who disagree with us). As I watched it (the first and all subsequent times), I felt sure that the movie was written by someone who really loves his church -- but is smart and aware enough to recognize its shortcomings, its blindspots, even its failures and hypocrisies. Rather than simply leaving or ignoring or dismissing it, Smith chooses to enter into dialogue with it, using the potent medium of film to do so. One can only hope that the church--not just Roman Catholic but all branches of it-- takes him up on his call to conversation.

Not to be missed in the film, on a lighter note, are the introductory disclaimer and the "Thank Yous" at the end. Smith thanks Elaine Pagels, for God's sake -- who knew anyone in Hollywood read contemporary, feminist theology? What a welcome revelation....

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81 out of 120 people found the following review useful:

Smart, Funny, Intriguing........

10/10
Author: fostex300 from London, England
20 January 2000

I have always loved Kevin Smith's style of directing and this film has re-affirmed my belief that he is one of the top directors in the film industry at the moment. Dogma's topic was a very sensitive one and could have been misused but Kevin Smith has dealt with the subject perfectly. Anyone who has critisized Dogma for being offensive has really not understood the film. Dogma is full of excellent moments, not least Alanis Morissette who I thought was fabulous in her small but important role as 'God'. All the performances were excellent and the actors complimented each other superbly. Overall this film has a mixture of everything and its underlying message is one which should reach everyone.

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73 out of 111 people found the following review useful:

Chesterton lives!

9/10
Author: zahasj from Berkeley, CA
15 June 2000

Another vote from a cradle Catholic who was not remotely offended by this movie. Not that some of the negatives mentioned by other posters here aren't true -- yes, a lot of the humor is gross, yes, the F-word is overused, yes, its criticism of organized religion is less stinging that you'd expect (though that in itself is a slightly foolish expectation, given that the writer/director is himself an active member of an organized religion). And yes, if you're not Catholic, much of the movie is a little foggy, under-explained, and not very engaging. That last one I definitely agree with; I seriously doubt whether I'd recommend the film to a non-Catholic at all.

But, oh, God, I LOVED it, serious flaws and all! It's a huge chaotic mess with about sixty different trains of thought and philosophy, from the ecstatic to the scatological, slugging it out for dominance, and in its very sloppiness there's a sense of anarchic, exultant wonder I've never seen in a movie before. The only two things like it that I can think of are Thornton Wilder's play "Skin of Our Teeth" and G.K. Chesterton's amazing joyous fever dream of a novel "The Man Who Was Thursday", both of which are works by people who may or may not have faith but who definitely have a good idea. Or several dozen of them, and who just run with them wherever they go. These works are big chaotic messes, but in that way they are mirrors of Creation, the mother of all big chaotic messes. In all these works, just as in the real world, love and joy and beauty and filth and cruelty and despair are constantly tumbling over and bleeding into each other; the one universal rule is that everything is absurd, that the human race is the most absurd thing of all, and that this absurdity can be the catalyst to either suffocating grief or a kind of hilarious wonder.

If you go into "Dogma" expecting a trim and tidy theological comedy of manners, you'll be sorely disappointed. If you're looking for something with the same filthy gorgeous lunacy of existence itself, this is it.

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61 out of 100 people found the following review useful:

A Religious Comedy

10/10
Author: Matthew Vasey (matt.vasey.g9mr@statefarm.com) from CHICAGO
19 November 1999

I am a huge Kevin Smith fan and after seeing this film I can say that it was everything I hoped it would be, and a little bit more. It's extremely well written and directed. The film has the same great comedy we're used to from Kevin Smith, but he shows that he has another dimension that I don't think many people thought was there.

Jay and Silent Bob have their biggest role so far. Jay has some of his laugh out loud funniest one liners yet. But what really makes this a great film is that it is genuinely thought provoking.

There are religious people out there who will criticize this film as being anti religion, anti Catholicism, when it is anything but (well, a little anti Cathlic maybe). The central theme to the film is that there is a God, but not the God that most people know (or think they know) or believe in. The characters in the film are trying to get the message across that people have changed the original God, man has made God into the image they want him/her to be, made their own religious rules, rules that God never intended. From a strictly biblical standpoint, Smith is right on, which is not something that can be said about many films dealing with religion. And isn't that the entire point to Christianity, that it's based on the bible.

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57 out of 93 people found the following review useful:

Highly recommended for fans and future fans alike

8/10
Author: Anthony-15 from Guelph, Canada
27 September 1999

Dogma is firmly rooted in Kevin Smith's View Askew world so fans of his other films will not be disappointed. However, it also expands on the direction he took in Chasing Amy by dealing with subject matter and concepts that are personal and thought provoking. Dogma goes beyond the "dick and fart jokes", which are reassuringly present, and gives the viewer something to think about.

The film deals with thoughts on religion, Catholicism mainly, in a way that pokes fun at the institution but does not deride it. Dogma is by no stretch of the imagination an anti-Catholic movie. It embraces religion and points out the potential and actual problems that can occur within any religious institution. The film's comments and contents are definitely meant to be taken with a grain of salt.

The cast is great and there are many instances of hilarious viewing, usually Jay and Silent Bob, as well as very sensitive and expressive moments from the various actors.

In the end, Dogma is a thoroughly fun and thoughtful viewing experience that both old and new fans will enjoy. A movie outside the typical fare that is worth spending your money on seeing.

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40 out of 61 people found the following review useful:

A winner on many counts

8/10
Author: lastliberal from United States
29 April 2007

It is not often that you get to see a group of stars that you like in a funny movie that also makes some interesting points.

Matt Damon (The Bourne Ultimatum ), Linda Fiorentino (Unforgettable). Severus Snape, Jay and Silent Bob, Salma Hayek (Frida), George Carlin, and, of course, God (Alanis Morissette), all join to make this irreverent and funny movie.

The premise is so interesting, and the fact that it is set in New Jersey is so appropriate, whether intentional or not. As a recovering Catholic, I remember the teaching of the church that I could basically sin all I want, but if I repent at the end, I will be saved and go to heaven. New Jersey is reputedly the home of many undesirable criminals with vowels on the ends of their names - maybe some of them even relatives of mine - and I know they are predominately Catholic. I am sure they are counting on this "escape clause," just as Loki and Bartleby were counting on the same thing.

Yes, while I was laughing, I was also carefully looking at the images {the golden calf (money) we worship} and listening to the lines. There is a wealth of material in this movie and it was thoroughly enjoyable.

One to see again and again.

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49 out of 82 people found the following review useful:

Surprising!

9/10
Author: p_monkey (prz99@newnorth.net) from Hazelhurst, Wisconsin
1 December 1999

While held back from being truly stunning by some pacing issues and some minor script awkwardnesses, Dogma is an enjoyable trip from beginning to end. Smith plays textures like a cardshark - from action sequences to philosophical debates to stoned one-liners to dramatic monologues, the action flows remarkably smoothly for all of the twists that are thrown at it. I was also extremely impressed by the tasteful execution of the more violent scenes, where the graphic aftermath may be shown, but the action happens off-camera. One rough point was that a great deal of dialogue came of as expostiory - there was simply such a massive back-story (2000 years of religious history...go fig...) that it seemed at times that the plot had to fight its way through the background information. One particular shot also irked me - in the Bethany/Metatron scene in the cafe, every time the camera cut back to Bethany, she seemed to be in the exact same pose, and break it in a very similar way. I wonder if this was intentional, or if it was a continuity issue? The casting of God was simply inspired - her appearance was actually one of the highlights of the film. Towards the very end, there were some surprisingly touching moments (of course rendered through Smith's unique style), and the closing scene felt like something right out of a good ol' 80's movie (that's a good thing!). Issues and all, a truly enjoyable film!

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60 out of 106 people found the following review useful:

One of the Ten Best of 1999

10/10
Author: K-Slicer from In A Confined Space
7 May 2001

This movie is one of the funniest movies of all time. Kevin Smith puts together a movie that defines 'satire' almost perfectly. The only flaw that this movie has are how long it is. Even though the movie is almost two and half hours, it delivers enough philosophy to keep people thinking long after watching it. "Was Jesus Christ black?" and "Is there someone out in the world that is a direct descendent of Mary and Joseph?" are very thought provoking.

The satire elements in this movie are well done. I thought the edition of George Carlin as the self-centered Cardinal Glick was an especially nice touch. I am a George Carlin fan and I have heard his routines about taxing the properties of the Catholic Church. I think the issues with race and women in the Bible were dealt with in a fine way as well. The dialogue was smart and witty and the cast did particularly well. Jay and Silent Bob took the movie with their wise-cracking, foul-mouthed wit and humor. I am also a huge Kevin Smith fan and he incorporated elements from all of his other movies.

This is the best Kevin Smith movie since Clerks. 10 out of 10.

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22 out of 33 people found the following review useful:

Great concept, adequate execution, likable movie

6/10
Author: Movie_Muse_Reviews from IL, USA
25 February 2008

"Dogma" isn't the kind of comedy that most people will find themselves holding onto their guts during. It's more the second-long "ha!" kind of comedy.

That simply means Kevin Smith's writing is clever enough to the point where you will be pleasantly shocked by some of the conversations and events of the film and think it all rather amusing and humorous. It's not hilarious, it's just clever and a bit funny.

The premise is rather interesting and surprisingly from a more fantasy-esquire genre than Smith traditionally dabbles with. Loki (Matt Damon) and Bartleby (Ben Affleck) are more or less fallen angels that have found a way back into heaven. They must be stopped or the world will come to a screeching halt, so a seemingly random protagonist named Bethany gets charged by God to stop them. Simple, but the slick, nonchalant approach to religion keeps the satire rampant.

The film does spend a lot of its time explaining itself, which isn't too bad considering Smith keeps the explanations to-the-point and allows the characters to stay interesting in the process. Chris Rock, who plays an apostle, and Alan Rickman, who plays God's messenger/ voice are two of these characters that are both good in the film and Smith has allowed to maintain their character's edge despite lines upon lines of explanation.

Getting from point A to point B and so on is not the film's strength. The physical events that take place are ultimately boring and unexciting. It's the moments along the way, the conversations and the philosophy that come about, that make it successful. Affleck's character raises a lot of interesting religious questions about humanity and his conversation with the protagonist on the train is rather insightful. In general, Smith has used Bethany as a way to keep the viewers skepticism of the plot active in the film. She keeps it from getting preposterous. In general, the whole cast is very talented and their characters well written, which keeps the film interesting.

It's not the funniest or most interesting comedy in terms of plot and the sequence of events, but "Dogma" is a smart concept that ultimately results in a sharp satire and some great thoughts that scrutinize religion in a way that never seems too out of line.

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