Jena Malone, Patrick Fugit, Macauley Culkin, Eva Matarazzo, Mandy
Moore, Martin Donovan and Mary-Louise Parker
Directed by: Brian Dannelly
speaking? Saved! is a rare original film that
utilized the immense talent working its script to take it from
clever after-school-special material on up to a film that actually
yes, Saved! is a comedy - a damn good one. It plays kind
of like a Passion of the Christ meets Mean Girls,
with a lot less speaking-in-tongues and longer skirts, to put
it in layman's terms.
filmmakers, writer/director Brian Dannelly, co-writer Michael
Urban, were allowed to be honest with the people in their script.
The result is less a bible thumping "them others are all
bad" look at a religion and much more of a delightful heart-felt
look at modern lifestyles, the one-ness of puberty struggles and
the need for love of your fellow human - the bible's initial goal
- to reign supreme.
swear the film is not a two-hour sermon. Trust me. This half-a-heathen,
über thespian cast or not, would have been runnin' for the
hills of Purgatory Peek if it were.
Mary (Jena Malone) is a good Christian teenage gal.
She even attends a Christian high school and maintains the Christian
personal life. When her long-time make-out buddy decides he's
thinking of admitting he's gay she has a vision (or so she believes)
of Jesus himself to save the lad. She is instructed to sleep -
ala fornicate le hidedasuasage - with the boy and thusly save
him from gaydom, and an afterlife of hellfire yadda yadda.
delicate, but handled hilariously well.
poor inexperienced - unprotected - Mary gets pregnant. Abortion
is never an option and friends are far from available for consultation
on parenthood planning. In fact Mary's bestest friend, Hilary
Faye (Mandy Moore) happens to be the Christianiest of Christians
at their school. Frankly Hilary would probably stage a crucifixion
if she found out about Mary's little DNA mixing faux pas.
Mary's single-and-looking means-well mother (Mary-Louise Parker)
is in the middle of her own identity crisis of sorts and has no
clue of Mary's dilemma. So, poor Mary finds no room at the Inn
so-to-speak. She's utterly alone. Mary quickly finds herself on
the other side of the pulpit tracks hangin' with Hilary's wheelchair
bound rebel-on-a-roll brother Roland (Macauley Culkin - in a fantastic
portrayal) and the high school's token gothic Jew, Cassandra (Eva
just when her life couldn't possibly get more complicated, the
high school's new pastor (Martin Donovan - in a delightfully off-casting
type showing) ends up to have a studly teenage son, Patrick (Patrick
Fugit). Faster then you can give ten hail Marys, and chomp down
a communion wafer, Patrick and his refreshingly honest heart,
moves in - in more ways than one.
just may be saved from a life of ruin yet.
is fantastic. It is a breath of fresh air that hopefully will
be taken for what it is; a comedy about getting along and acceptance
in each other's differences.
The pedigree cast radiates off the screen. The reigning "Queen
of the Under-25-Indie" crowd, Jena
Malone is always a trusted vessel of ability. In a sea of
mediocrity this youngin' manages to continually find riveting
roles, and stories delivering to us a multi-layered sponge cake
of talent. The left-field spice is added to the thespian pot in
the form of a sparkling Mandy Moore who delivers a what-it-may-have-been-like-in-the-teenage-years
(aka "The pre-Mary Kay Mascara Addiction Years") glance
at what can only be Tammy Faye Baker. Macauley Culkin's subtle
realisms given to his character Roland are so intricate you know
this is one party monster that did his research. Frustratingly
underrated Patrick Fugit and Heather Matarazzo
are two trusted actors that have yet to give a bad performance
poor Heather's got Princess Diaries 2 heading our way
scene stealing Eva Amurri, who got the "fun" bad-girl
Cassandra role, should also have a glorious career ahead of her.
She looked familiar
then it surfaced from the filing cabinet
within, Eva is beautiful Susan Sarandon 's (who's also that yummitini
with a sidecar of talent, Tim Robbins' wife) daughter. Perhaps
another acting dynasty has been created?
Is a gem of a film with all too real situations - no matter what
your denomination or socioeconomic position - that happens to
also be a legitimately funny film. Saved! should evoke
great discussion on the ride home from the multiplex
was the last time a "teen" film did that ? I mean serious
discussion, not apple pie jokes!
recommendation: A buffet so you'll can pick what you want.