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Mary is a good Christian girl who goes to a good Christian high school where she has good Christian friends, mainly Hilary Faye, and a perfect Christian boyfriend, Dean. Her life seems perfect, until the day that she finds out that Dean may be gay. After "seeing" a vision of Jesus in a pool, she does everything in her power to help him turn straight, including offering up her virginity. But none of it helps because Dean's caught and sent to a "degayification" center and Mary ends up pregnant. It's during her time of need that she becomes real friends with the school's set of "misfits," including Cassandra, the school's only Jewish girl; Roland, Hilary Faye's wheelchair-bound brother, and Patrick, the skateboarder son of the school's principal, Pastor Skip; whilst Hilary Faye turns her into a social outcast. Written by
The film is set in Baltimore County, Maryland, just north of Baltimore City, as evidenced by Hilary Faye's Maryland license plate and the "Baltimore County Bus Company" public transportation that Mary takes to and from the clinic. See more »
When Roland is stranded at the school he sleeps in front of the giant Jesus billboard. In the morning he is shown laying on his back, on the ground, covered with his jacket. When he sits up seconds later, he is wearing his jacket. See more »
I've been born again my whole life... accepting Jesus.
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Despite losing its punch in the latter stages, "Saved!" remains an enjoyable and viciously funny satire. Poking fun of judgmental fundamentalists really isn't that tough a task or groundbreaking. They tend to spoof themselves. But what writers Brian Dannelly (who also directed) and Michael Urban do is not ridicule the fundamentalists' beliefs but their awful behavior. And that definitely deserves to be satirized.
The first 50 minutes are sensational, brimming with pointed dialogue, terrific humor and sharp observations about the preposterous idea of "degayification," the real reason people are sent to deprogramming centers and these teens obviously missing the true meaning of Christ's message.
But the film falters in the third act when it veers from clever satire to preaching about intolerance. It's a noble idea, but the punchy writing gets forsaken for the message. And the film concludes with a tired denouement. Surely, there are more original ways to conclude a high school film than one seen many times before.
Some of the characters, I suppose, could be seen as stereotypes. Then again, speaking from personal experience, the Hillary Fayes of this world exist and they're every bit as judgmental and nasty as she is. Unfortunately, Mandy Moore goes over-the-top a bit, often turning Hillary Faye into a broad caricature. That's a shame. Reining Moore in would have done wonders, because the other performances are uniformly good.
Macaulay Culkin turns in a fine performance as Roland. He finally might have shed his "Home Alone" image, proving he's capable of perfectly delivering sharp, well-written dialogue. The other revelation is young Eva Amurri, who has all the attitude, spunk (and I hope much of the talent) of her mother. She gives Cassandra a delightfully anarchic spirit; the film soars whenever she's on screen.
One peeve: Why does the radiant and sexy Mary-Louise Parker dress down so much in this film?
People who are judgmental about gays, teen pregnancy, other religions, and see life's myriad issues in purely black and white terms likely will be offended by this film - they might see themselves manifested as Hillary Faye. But if you appreciate life's gray areas and take delight in biting satire, you're bound to enjoy this film.
"Saved!" is by no means an attack on Christianity. Quite the contrary. It shows the importance of stressing in our lives the true side of Christianity - one that's about compassion, love and tolerance, and not the biased, judgmental approach that seeks to take control and bastardize religion, whatever it may be.
Although "Saved!" deals primarily with Christianity, it proves we'd all be better off adopting Mahatma Gandhi's ideals that each and every one of us is a Hindu, Christian, Muslim, Sikh, Buddhist and Jew.
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