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I laughed till I cried (really)
Zorro-315 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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Smart, Funny, Intriguing........
fostex30020 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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An intelligently written satirical comedy
freemantle_uk27 August 2013
Dogma is one of Kevin Smith's most controversial films, a smartly written comedy that takes jabs against the Catholic Church and religion in general and it is very much a cult classic which my friends from college raved about.

Bethany (Linda Fiorentino) is a catholic woman who works in an abortion clinic who is given a mission from Metatron (Alan Rickman), the Voice of God, to go church in New Jersey. She has to stop two fallen angels, Loki (Matt Damon) and Bartleby (Ben Affleck) who have found a loophole that they can re-enter Heaven: but if they do that they would destroy all of existence because God's word is meant to be infallible. Fortunately (or unfortunately) Bethany is joined by Jay and Silent Bob (Jason Mewes and Kevin Smith), the thirteenth apostle, Rufus (Chris Rock) as Loki goes on a killing spread and a demon called Azreal (Jason Lee) tries to make Loki and Bartleby success in their objective.

Dogma is a sharply written comedy that is constantly funny. Smith makes a dialogue driven comedy filled with comical exchanges and great character inactions. Smith's trademarks of film related dialogue and jokes at the expense of Jay, but the best parts is the satire of religion and his showcasing of knowledge of Catholicism, combined with clever lines about the religion.

Sometimes Smith does stand on his soapbox about religion, but for the most part the satirical jabs are one target. We get satire from all angles from a Cardinal trying to get the church to appeal to younger worshipper, by doing it in the most patronising way, including a 'hey Jesus' and comic book art for its title 'Catholicism Wow'. There are criticisms about how The Bible has be rewritten to suit certain groups, with the Bible being whitewashed (though ignoring that Jesus and the apostles would have mostly have been of Middle-Eastern appearance) and women having villainous roles.

Affleck and Damon were great together as the fallen angels, having great dialogue and discussions, particularly in the beginning and a scene in a boardroom for a children's character. Alan Rickman was also a comedy highlight, playing against type as the Voice of God, someone who has great lines and adds serious emotion depth when needed. He added gravitas and gave the role his all.

Kevin Smith has often stated that he thinks he is not a particular good director, but with Dogma he is able to keep a fast pace, he knows how to shoot the dialogue sequences and can add a scene of tension when needed (i.e. the boardroom scene). Smith is competent with the action sequence at the end and he knows how to use his bloodpacks. The general look and tone of the film where Reaper (which Smith directed the pilot) got its influences from.

The film does occasional take a misstep, such as Smith being at time very preachy and there is a demon made from faecal matter which was very immature and out of place for a smartly written film.

On a final note, Howard Shore of the Lord of the Rings fame provided the score for Dogma and much his other work he gives Dogma a top score. He uses plenty of choir beats and singers to add to the experience.

Dogma is a highly enjoyable comedy that is intelligently written and very funny. It is a film deserving of its cult classic status.
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simply fabulous--kevin smith rocks!
revsonya15 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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Chesterton lives!
zahasj15 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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Highly recommended for fans and future fans alike
Anthony-1527 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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A winner on many counts
lastliberal29 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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A Religious Comedy
Matt-37119 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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p_monkey1 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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Great concept, adequate execution, likable movie
Movie_Muse_Reviews25 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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One of the Ten Best of 1999
K-Slicer7 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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Disappointing, botched, amateurish attempt at a loaded topic
floatmyboat24 September 2007
Watching this film was long overdue. I had heard of Kevin Smith's cult following and had experienced the wonderful ride that Chasing Amy was. To add to that, the concept behind Dogma was pretty darn cool. The cast was big, the canvas huge, and the agenda enormous. But none of it could salvage this sinking vessel. All the king's horses and all the king's men, and so forth.

Kevin Smith's greatly touted skill has been his dialog. He is arguably among the finest pens that write long-winded tirades, witty comebacks, and insightful observations. Remarkably, Dogma showed an utter lack of sophistication or tact. The moments that made me laugh could be counted on the fingers. Of one hand. Of E.T. I have seen the man in action not more than two days ago, when he had come our university for the third run of his An Evening with Kevin Smith show. I just can't imagine how someone who had our rapt attention for five whole hours could come up with embarrassing dialog like in this film. The trite and corny lines almost overloaded my Cringe-o-meter.

The whole affair had a thick coat of amateurism on it. No doubt, films such as Clerks and Chasing Amy aren't known for their polish and slickness, but this film has the sensibilities of a high-school production. Blocky edits and choppy transitions make an already tedious film all the more unbearable. The characters are mere sketches, with a pretense of a background or a personality. It almost seems like everyone's just being themselves while knocking off a few beers and reading out the lines half-assed. It is hard to believe anyone took anything seriously on the sets.

Dogma begins with a few disclaimers about how it is supposed to be humorous and not intended to offend anyone. I seriously doubt anyone who sees the movie would be offended by it. Except perhaps fans of Kevin Smith and the discerning members of the audience. The "philosophy" presented in the movie is so thin you could have it instead of the Atkins diet. I have heard deeper words from people who have put a gallon of beer behind them. I am sure some (or most) of the ideas have come from such evenings of drunken revelry.

This is a film without redemption. Quite unbecoming for a film that (almost) embraces the teachings of Christ.
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Irreverent sweary surreal fun (definitely not for everyone)
bowmanblue1 December 2014
There are about 800 reasons why you probably won't like Kevin Smith's 1999 offering 'Dogma.' It uses abnormally foul language. It's crude. It's irreverent. It's completely wacky and also part of the 'Askewniverse' (where you basically have to watch Smith's other films to fully appreciate all the gags here). It is definitely an acquired taste.

However, if you can overlook the language, the daftness and generally light-hearted mockery of organised religion, Dogma really is something different.

For a start it has an all-star cast, not all of which are fully developed, but it's great to see so many talented performers on one cast list. Secondly, it's original. It's safe to say not many films are about a rag-tag bang of religious warriors are trying to stop two exiled angels from returning to heaven in case it destroys the very fabric of the universe. And, finally, it is genuinely funny. The banter - albeit sweary and sexual - is well-written and amusing.

Although, you may have to have a reasonably broad sense of humour to fully appreciate this. For, even if you find the banter funny, it is pretty dark. Surprisingly, it does get pretty violent in places.

So, if you're looking for some surreal, violent, foul-mouthed, smutty black humour, then this one is for you. Or, just watch any of Kevin Smith's other 'Askewniverse' films. If you like them, you should like this. The Life of Brain it isn't, but it's a different take on the misconceptions created by organised religion.
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Thou Shall Not Stop Laughing
Desertman846 October 2012
Warning: Spoilers
Would you believe that the last living descendant of Jesus Christ is a woman working at an abortion clinic in Illinois? And that she's been sent on a holy mission with two minor characters from Clerks and Mallrats as her guides? Prepare to suspend any and all disbelief as you watch the religious satire Dogma.It is written and directed by Kevin Smith, who also stars in the film along with an ensemble cast that includes Ben Affleck, Matt Damon, Linda Fiorentino, Alan Rickman, Bud Cort, Salma Hayek, Chris Rock, Jason Lee, George Carlin, Janeane Garofalo, Alanis Morissette, and Jason Mewes.

Bethany has been disappointed in life and has found her faith severely tested after her husband leaves her when she discovers she cannot have children. So Bethany is all the more puzzled when she's approached by Metatron,a grumpy angel.Metatron wants her to help him stop Bartleby and Loki, two fallen angels who were ejected from paradise, have escaped from exile and are heading to New Jersey. If they are able to pass through the arc of a certain church, it will prove God is fallible and the world will come to a swift end. Bethany has no idea what to do or why she's been given this project, but she heads out anyway, with her assigned assistants Jay, an appallingly rude former dope dealer and self-styled ladies man, and Silent Bob. Along the way, Bethany picks up more helpers, including a celestial muse named Serendipity and Rufus, who claims to have been the 13th apostle and that Jesus owes him 12 dollars.

It is about the importance of faith, if not organized religion.I echo Kevin Smith's statement about this film.It is a talky, farcical comedy of cosmic errors is clever. But it's clever in a deeply juvenile way.As God would probably say to the viewer,"Thou Shall Not Stop Laughing".Overall,it is a push-the-envelope coarse, thematically ambitious, and most dangerously self-consciously respectful and thoughtful on matters of faith and religion.
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Dogma c. 1999
tbills229 June 2013
Warning: Spoilers
Isn't it a tad funny that Kevin Smith's best movie, Dogma, is somewhat his least popular movie? Dogma isn't just sex and crap jokes, well...ya it is but it's done in high taste and it comes packed with a philosophically honest and insightful story that delves in religion and belief. Dogma does demand an acquired intellect, and maybe some good virtue, a certain acumen in order to best effectively enjoy it. This movie is boring as ish if it's not thought provoking, but it's definitely not boring as ish; it's ridiculously amusing and completely f'ing hilarious. About all of the jokes are 'thinkers', Dogma's wry, ironic sense of humor. I really love Dogma and it's easily one of my most favorable comedies.

The cast is great - Ben Affleck, Matt Damon, Linda Fiorentino, Alan Rickman, Salma Hayek, Chris Rock, Jason Lee, George Carlin, Mewes and Smith. I love Affleck and Damon as Loki and Bartleby, two angels cast out by God to spend an eternity in Wisconsin whom may now have found a way to get back into heaven. Loki is the funniest. + "You're a pure soul, but you didn't say God bless're getting off light." + Bartleby is not intended to be nearly as comical as Loki but is still funny at times. + "Mr. Brace, disowned his gay son, very compassionate, Mr. Brace!" + Linda Fiorentino is super-seductive, I'm not sure if that applies here, but she's great as Bethany, the last of the living bloodline of Christ. I cannot describe how exceptional Fiorentino is. Alan Rickman is at his funniest as Metatron, the voice of God. + "I'm the one that's soaked and she's the one that's surly, that's rich!" + Jay and Silent Bob make a gloriously honorable appearance. + "Snooch to the mother f&*$ing nooch!" + Jay and Silent Bob are outrageously funny! Chris Rock's funny as Rufus, the lost forgotten 13th disciple. + "You know in the three years I followed his ass around Jerusalem did I ever get laid? Hell no." + Salma Hayek as Serendipity the sexy muse is, me find the words...inspiring and splendid. Jason Lee is delightfully devious as Azrael, the demon assisting Loki and Bartleby on the angels' dark quest. George Carlin is so likable as Cardinal Glick, he doesn't exactly have many laugh-out-loud lines, but the entirety of his performance is very preferable.

Kevin Smith's made a cultural classic, just as all of Smith's movies are good, Dogma is great. Is it blasphemy? No. It's more so of the utmost non-blasphemous nature due to God's great sense of humor, Her real sense of humor. Dogma is a tad unappreciated in the present but time will eventually tell, just like whether or not Krush Groove will ever surpass the cultural impact of E.T.
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Even my Dad liked this film!
rubabyuk2 November 2003
And that really says something as he is really quite picky! I love how this film totally highlights every single bad thing about the Catholic church without offending anyone, maybe if Monty Python had done the same thing Life of Brian premieres wouldn't of had protesting nuns outside the theatres! I think the infamous Smith has made a fantastic film here with an even better cast who really understood that he was trying to hint at the future of Catholicism (not exactly Buddy Christ, but you get the picture) and point out that we do mourn religion and not celebrate it. Well worth watching, even if you don't get the religious stuff, Chris Rock, Jay Mewes and Kevin Smith are too funny! More power to Alan Rickman, he had the whole Sheriff of Nottingham thing going again!
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kookytree7 October 2003
I'm not sure what I find harder to believe- the idea that people actually found this film funny, or the fact that it is considered controversial. This is "satire" at the level of the Carry On films- when a film uses a giant "poo monster" for supposed comedic effect, you know your time is wasted on it. I watched this expecting to chuckle, instead I came out feeling nauseated and patronised. At least half an hour of the film -AT LEAST- is spent with characters explaining the plot background and details to other characters. Can you say yawn? This is the first Kevin Smith movie I've seen and the man is the biggest overwriter I've had the displeasure of coming across. The characters just cannot shut up! This would be fine if the dialogue was witty or insightful, but instead it's lots and lots of swearing (the word "f~ck loses it's already minimal impact after the fiftieth time you hear it in one scene), and supposedly deep religious discussions that are immature and sound as if they were written by a twelve year old who just became interested in theology.

It's near impossible to see who this film appeals to- Smith shoots for pleasing all and ends up satisfying none. Those who enjoy the childish, "Dude Where's My Brain" jokes will no doubt be crushingly bored when the characters decide to sit and talk inanely about something unfunny -AGAIN, while those who like the pathetic attempts at religious satire and discussion of the Catholic Church will cringe at the afore mentioned poo monster and a succession of equally puerile kindergarten comedy.

The film is nowhere near as clever or anarchic as it thinks it is (indeed it has incredibly tame messages), and the characters are obnoxious. The protagonist -a female, distant relation of Christ- whinges so damn much you want to slap her overacting face. Indeed, pretty much every person in the film overacts- only Alanis (the only person with no lines- significant?) and Salma Hayek (who's a decent comic performer- `That's why he's The King, and you're a schmuk') come out with dignity intact. I should also say Silent Bob's expressions are pretty amusing, as are the odd one liners in Jay's rants. However, while Ben Affleck isn't as bad as he can be, he's still pretty terrible, and Matt Damon does an impressive impression of wallpaper throughout. When the film shoots for drama it's embarrassing. When the two fallen angels have an argument and one compares the other to Lucifer, we're supposed to take it seriously, but the poor writing and acting make it an utter non-moment. At one point, the protagonist, after another annoying rant (which I'm assuming is Smith's amateurish way of getting across how his characters feel, as this is an insanely whiny bunch of people) actually runs, drops on her knees in the rain, and screams up the sky `WHY, GOD!?!?!?! WHHHHHHHHHHHY!?!?!?' This was one of the only genuine laughs I got from the film, it's an utter cliché and this supposedly ironic, clever-clever film tries to use it as drama: worrying.

Again, I ask, who actually found this controversial? Bible Belt Christians? Devout Catholics? Those same groups find 'HARRY POTTER' controversial, it's hardly an achievement. The only other thing I could see as being controversial was the pushing of the pro-choice abortion movement, and while I am pro-choice, such plugging made me uneasy, as pro-lifers are demonised in the film somewhat unfairly. If Smith is going to enter the abortion debate, which is inadvisable in the first place for a film most likely to appeal to wannabe `alternative' folk gagging to prove their anti-establishment leanings, it should at least be fair and give the points of both sides. It's also obvious that the man directing is a Catholic himself, and the film comes across as just more self-loathing, rambling apologies from a liberal, middle-class, white male for the perceived wrongs his ancestors have done to the world. If there was any satire in the film, I didn't catch it- was the scene where God made all the bodies disappear satirical? Worryingly, it appears not. Besides, satirising the farcial exploits of the Catholic Church is about as hard as exhaling carbon dioxide.

The film, though, isn't a total waste of time. There are some nice points- the boredom of church-going is articulated adroitly, for example, and there are one or two funny moments. The conceit of the relative of Christ not being able to have children and thus losing faith in God is actually a great idea, but it's poorly executed in the extreme. The dialogue/writing is terrible for the most part (the characters talk too much about the story and/or themselves, and do too little), the acting equally dire, and -most criminally- it's simply not funny. `Dogma' commits the ultimate sin: for a movie packed with such dumb jokes, it sure takes itself seriously. If you want to watch a comedy, a satire, or even a discussion of religion or theology, there is surely better stuff than this.
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A bizarre, sophomoric artifact of middle American culture.
Wangdu3 November 2000
Dogma is one of those cultural oddities that surely merit reams of postmodern analysis; some day a clever graduate student will make her name with a Dogma-tic dissertation. Unfortunately, as a piece of entertainment, it is far too creepy to warrant most viewers' attention. The movie continually oozes a bizarre mish-mash of bloodthirsty divine retribution, inanely anti-intellectual pseudo-theology, and conservative values shrouded in flimsy pretension to open-mindedness. It would seem that the film wishes to revive sincere interest in an unadorned, anti-institutional version of "original" Christianity. It succeeds only in portraying Christianity as a barbaric, simplistic and primitive appeal to middle American mush. Of course, some may believe this portrayal to be accurate, but that makes it no less disconcerting.
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Look out Below
Jessica Carvalho16 November 2005
Warning: Spoilers
Dogma is a very funny movie and criticizes a lot many of our societies's taboos,the catholic church and many of the facts that we consider right. Everything, of course, with lots of jokes and irony.

In the present days, with the popularity of the famous book called 'Da Vinci's Code', we can see many similarities,like the fact that the bible could be changed for the people who translated it, for example. Or the strange fact that they don't show all the years of Jesus's life,opening the controversial doubt about his relationship with Mary Madalene, and the possibility of having kids.

But the coolest thing in Dogma, are the silly things,like Alanis Morissete playing God, Metraton saying he is 'anatomically like a Ken doll', and the thirteenth Apostle,never included in the Bible because he is black.

I recommend this movie for everybody who wants a good time!
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One of the worst films I have ever seen.
jono-2013 November 1999
Ok lets start off with the good..... it had funny moments but thats about as far as it goes. I have read some reviews and I can't believe how some people think that this movie is thought provoking. It is far from it, nothing but cliches and many jokes, some funny, some not. We've heard all these bible/catholic comments before which makes this movie totally unoriginal. This movie was totally idiotic, if it wern't for some of the comedic moments this movie would have no value whatsoever. I am not a religious type so don't cast me off like that, this movie was horribly written and just boring at times. If you want a dark comedy, go see Very Bad Things which is very original, unpredictable and a riot. Dogma just doesn't work at all.
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Extraordinarily overrated
jdlund18 April 2004
Overrated would be my review for most of Kevin Smith films. I am still not sure how on Earth he has such a cult following. The only film of his that was good, was Chasing Amy and even that had its flaws. He also has the pleasure of directing a film that is on my top five worst films list which is Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back. Be that as it may my problems with Dogma are a little different than most of his films. The first time I saw it I kinda liked it. The second time I realized how bad it was. First of all choosing to satarize the catholic church, especially in film form, is like writing a love poem. It's been done so many times you had better do something new or different, Smith does neither of these. I think of the films of Buneul, Felini, certainly the Monty Python stuff, certain Woody Allen films and so forth and that's what I think of as good satire of the church. There are countless others that did the subject so much better than here. The biggest problem that I had with Dogma is that the film had no idea what it wanted to be. It kept switching from semi-serious film to farce. Normally I don't have a problem with genre bending, but here it shouldn't be done. If this film was a farce than all the serious elements are out of place and pointless. If this film is suppose to be more serious, say just a normal variety of comedy(for an example "As Good as it Gets"), all the farcicle elements become really asinine. Take the reasoning for why the universe is going to be wiped out of existence. If this is not a farce(and I mean Marx Brothers, Monty Python brand of farce) then that idea is so ridiculous it doesn't deserve to be thought of. First of all if we are focussing on the catholic church, perhaps we should consider what they actuall believe. According to the bible(not a bible nut, just happen to know this) angels can't be redeemed. Period. No confession, no archway, they are angels and not humans. According to this films premise, if Lucifer walked through the archway he would be able to go back to heaven. Of course he'd have to cut his horns off, I would imagine going with Smiths wing thing. In this case, why didn't Azreal do it? He was also an angel cast down, why couldn't he walk through the arches and undo all of creation? They are not human beings and therefore not subject to the same rules. End of discussion. Too much of this film is trying to make a "serious" commment on religious dogma, and it tries to do so by ignoring what the catholic church and the bible actually says. Couldn't Smith come up with something not totally idiotic to hinge the film on? Since this is the base of the films story I must say that this film is completely pointless. Outside of that the Jay and Silent Bob stuff here is really annoying and their pressence is pointless and forced. Then of course there was the scene where Kevin Smith showed how bad of a writer he is when he gets out of the S*** Demon sequence by using odor spray. This is moronic and worthy of a Junior High school laugh. Even S*** Demon repelant(ala Batman style) would have been funier. The truth is, Smith knew of no better way to get out of the scene and he is a very sloppy writer. He isn't much better as a director as there is absolutely nothing visually interesting about this film, and that is the directors MAIN job. We are after all talking about a visual medium. In the end, seriously don't waste your time with this, it is horrible.
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Murdoch5841 June 2007
First of all, I want to say that I'm Catholic and I was not offended by this movie. I'm a firm believer that one has to laugh at oneself throughout life in order to keep one's feet firmly on the ground.

The reason I wasn't offended was because this movie's script/dialogue/everything was so unbelievably bad that the only emotion it conjured up out of me was a new level of boredom. I don't know who told Kevin Smith he was funny, but whoever that person is needs a roundhouse kick to the face.

Almost every one of Smith's punchlines is a swear word. That's funny if it's limited (I have no problem with swearing in comedies; Midnight Run and Kiss Kiss Bang Bang are two of my favorite movies). I could have tolerated it if the movie actually had some amusing humor in it, but,alas, there was none.

The only part that made me snicker slightly was a joke ripped off from Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. The only part where I laughed was when the main character sprayed Alan Rickman with a fire extinguisher.

Of course the kicker came at the end where Smith tries to play the "serious" card and lay out some "honest" criticism of Catholicism. Generally speaking, I don't like this method of criticism (whatever the subject) because it prevents the audience from critically analyzing it. Before you can fully process what's been said, Smith moves to another topic. Granted, one could do some research after the movie to determine the validity of Smith's claims, but please don't try and tell me everyone did that.

If a real humorist had tackled this subject, perhaps something could have been made of it.
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Over-rated and Under-cooked
Squrpleboy15 January 2002
This film is one of the TOP 5 worst movies I've ever seen. From an incredibly long, rambling story-line and pacing, to sub-standard acting (even by actors I've previously, and subsequently, enjoyed and/or admired in other films [Matt Damon, Ben Affleck, Jason Lee, Linda Fiorentino, Salma Hayek, Alan Rickman]), to its silly attempt at "deep thought" and imposing a certain "enlightenment" on the audience. The film was quite simply, BORING. Most humor was completely degenerative (I'll site the giant monster made of bubbling, human excrement, for example!) and completely un-original in plot (to anyone who's ever read a book of theological philosophy, science fiction or even a Marvel comic-book). I always get the feeling that Kevin Smith is winking at his audience, smiling and thinking to himself, "Look at how CLEVER I can be!" and "Laugh Here, Now." This film in particular seems to be a circus trying to present itself as a stage-play, and in my opinion, not hiding the fact very well. "Dogma" reveals itself with an over blown message and theatrics at their worst. (...And, quite frankly, his characters Jay & Silent Bob, are a "one- liner" stretched way beyond the punch-line.)
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Cleverly constructed interactions and satires
KineticSeoul29 May 2014
Warning: Spoilers
This is a cleverly constructed movie with wits to it. I like some Kevin Smith movies, some of them I just don't I however enjoyed this one. I didn't particularly found this movie to hilarious or anything like that, but like I said it does have wits. It might offend certain Christians that take things way to hard, but for others they might find the movie to have close to the right amount of balance to it (what I mean is, it didn't really seem like it tried to step over the line). The cast were all great and each of them brings something to the table. This is more than a journey movie about getting from point A to point B to accomplish a mission. But more so on the interaction between the characters that adds to it's humor and wits. It just seemed like Kevin Smith put a lot of his own thoughts and philosophies about Christianity into this. Which he does in a lot of his movies, excluding the Christianity part. It's a intriguing movie that some Christians may agree with and others will disagree with but most will at least will be intrigued with. It's a movie with cleverly constructed satire that takes on more of the modern street angle to Christianity. This had potential to be better if it had more exploration on intellectual parts and how to expand on that. Even if the overall plot doesn't make much sense when it comes to God. But maybe I am just being a bit nit-picky. Overall this is a movie that the audiences could have a entertaining time with, even the Christian audiences if not taken way too hard. It might offend the Catholics though.

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God does have a sense of humor... doesn't She? "Dogma" (1999)...
dee.reid28 April 2014
Warning: Spoilers
(I'm not Catholic, nor do I know much about Catholicism, but I am convinced that God does exist, and, and, He/She does have a sense of humor. I mean, She would have to, especially after seeing this movie...)

First off, a little bit of history...

If I can recall correctly, Kevin Smith's 1999 Christian satire "Dogma" was the first movie of his that I ever saw, and was my introduction to the witty New Jersey born & bred Gen-X filmmaker. Over the subsequent years, I came to watch his 1994 debut feature "Clerks.," "Mallrats" (1995), "Chasing Amy" (1997), "Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back" (2001), "Red State" (2011) and my personal favorite of his, "Clerks II" (2006).

Smith, who can at best be described as a lax Catholic with a unique perspective of his own faith (that may ruffle a few feathers, i.e., the more devout), threw all these unique perspectives - and then some - into "Dogma," which like every other faith-based movie to ever come out of Hollywood, caught a wrath at the time of its release that can only be described as "biblical" in its nature, with the usual protests, boycotts, and calls for Smith's Head on a Silver Platter (you get the point). He would later revisit religion once more with his horror film "Red State," which sought to play up the issue of religious fundamentalism in all its forms (and also, quite literally, I might add, allowed Smith to have the last word on all matters of faith).

But even Smith himself knew what he was getting into at the time, and like he clearly states during the opening credits, even God Herself has a sense of humor, i.e., why wouldn't She smite Smith down where he stood behind the camera by allowing the late comedian George Carlin (an avowed atheist) to play a New Jersey-based Catholic priest in the film? "Dogma" centers around the two fallen angels Bartleby (Smith regular Ben Affleck) & Loki (Matt Damon, another star-powered Smith regular), who hope to get back into Heaven by exploiting a newly discovered loophole in Catholic dogma.

So what? Two angels banished to Wisconsin want to get back into Heaven? Big deal, right?


To do so, would be to eventually reverse a divine decree that the pair never be allowed to re-enter Heaven (and when the Apocalypse comes, they have to sit outside the Gates for the rest of eternity - zing!!!). This would essentially prove God wrong and because God is infallible, this would thus lead to the complete undoing of all of existence (the end of the world, again, remember). To do this, the Seraphim Metatron/The Voice of God (Alan Rickman) is dispatched to Earth to recruit Bethany Sloane/The Last Scion (Linda Fiorentino), an abortion clinic worker (double-zing!!!), to go to New Jersey and stop Bartleby & Loki from re-entering Heaven (a Catholic church - triple-zing!!!).

And of course, Bethany has plenty of help. So, aiding Bethany in her God-given mission also are Metatron; two prophets - and stoner slackers - Jay (Jason Mewes) & Silent Bob (Smith himself); Rufus (Chris Rock), the so-called "thirteenth apostle"; and the super-sexy Earth-bound muse Serendipity (the super-sexy Salma Hayek).

"Dogma" is not a movie for the faint-of-heart (or the most easily offended, i.e., the ones who probably need to see this movie the most but obviously won't), like most Smith movies are. It's got much of his usual down & dirty (yet witty) dialogue and post-Gen-X attitude, but it's also got heart and plenty of clever insights into some of the problems surrounding organized religion, Christianity (and Catholicism), in particular. Smith probably knows better than anyone that religion itself is not perfect, and he's not afraid to ask important questions that could lead to constructive debate about the problems inherent in faith and come up with solutions to try to fix them, rather than just continue to follow religious dogma blindly. It must be reiterated that in other words, Kevin Smith is not hating on religion; his lax faith is just as important to him as it is to anyone else; he knows it's not perfect and can just see the humor in it all.

"Dogma" is perhaps Kevin Smith's most mainstream feature - and his most controversial, however needlessly so. Ben Affleck and Matt Damon are what hold this feature down; although they're the bad guys here who realize their selfish actions could cause mankind to instantaneously cease to exist, we get to see that they are indeed two complex characters who can be sympathized with, though to a degree. Smith clearly wrote these two with quite a bit of care and affection (in fact, all the characters in Smith's movies can be said to have been written with plenty of care, affection, and heart). Linda Fiorentino (who was allegedly cited by Smith to be quite difficult to work with) is this story's emotional anchor and the one we forge the strongest connection with. Like Jesus Christ Himself (this connection becomes clearer two-thirds of the way through the picture), she's carrying quite a significant burden on her delicate shoulders to save the world. It's a lot of quality acting on her part, however problematic she may have been for Smith behind the scenes.

It's been quite a while since I last "Dogma." I was only 14 when this movie was released and even then I just saw the humor and vulgarity that is typical of much of Smith's work. Having seen it again today for the first time in ages and with much clearer eyes, I can say that this is perhaps his heaviest piece of cinema, and was equally embraced and judged by people on both sides - like any quality piece of art.

As it stands, my top-four Kevin Smith movies are "Clerks II," "Chasing Amy," "Clerks.," and "Dogma."

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