Mary is a senior at American Eagle Christian High School in suburban Baltimore. She considers herself born again, despite the fact that her rebirth was at age three. Her best girlfriends are two classmates that comprise the Christian Jewels band with her. Hilary Faye is the alpha Christian, who outwardly is perfect, especially in her connection to God. And Veronica is ethnic Vietnamese who was adopted and thus saved by a black Christian couple. A third is Tia, who is generally an outsider in her geek status but who aspires to be in this Christian clique. Also within their social circle solely out of necessity is Hilary Faye's older brother Roland, who has been in a wheelchair since age nine after falling out of a tree, and who, out of family obligation Hilary Faye transports everywhere including to/from school. Beyond that transportation, Roland and Hilary Faye generally have disdain for each other. One of Hilary Faye's God driven missions for the year is to save Cassandra, a Jewish ...Written by
The porn magazine that Dean hides under his mattress features adult film star Chris Steele on the cover. The magazine is called 'Honcho' and is an actual magazine. See more »
After Cassandra is saved, the next day at school, at Hilary Faye's locker, Cassandra pinches Hilary's cheek. When Cassandra pinches her cheek, Hilary's sweater goes down from her face, in the next shot, Hilary's sweater is back up. 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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