3 Stars
Year Released: 2008
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Running Time: 90 minutes
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Oh, the irony. Certain organized religions have been co-opting other groups holidays almost since their inception. Disney has been co-opting fairy tales, history and other cultures stories almost since its inception. Now Faith Films is co-opting Disney’s “High School: The Musical.” Oddly enough, “Sunday School Musical” is not the worst film ever made, but it has its problems.

As to be expected, the story is simple. Zachary (Chris Chatman) and Savannah (Candise Lakota) are members of rival choirs, both of which have been picked to compete in the state competition. The poorer of the two churches, which Zachary was a member of until he had to move, will have to close its doors unless it can come up with $10,000 — the exact amount of prize money to be won at the state choir competition. You cannot miss where this is going, and that is the film’s first fault.

Nobody can go into this movie expecting anything really radical. Viewers, however, will be insulted by the predictable outcome (so much so that they may forget about the songs that are sprinkled throughout the show). Not only is the conclusion seen from a mile away, it is also arrived at in the most insane manner.

The films climax hangs on the fact that the two choirs decide to join forces and compete as one … a move, we are told, that is not against the official choir rules. That said, when the judges learn of this they declare this to be illegal and won’t let the kids compete.Instead of these church-going kids challenging the judges and asking for an official rule citing, they accept the judges arbitrary decision.

After some idiotic brainstorming, the kids explain to the judges that since they put aside their differences to work together they should be allowed to perform. It’s not the most compelling of arguments … but it works. The judges agree to let them take the stage, but they can’t compete and they can’t win the prize. The kids wholeheartedly embrace this despite the fact that the church needs that prize money to stay open. In fact, that prize is the whole reason these two choirs agreed to work together in the first place.


Are we to believe church kids are that simple-minded that they would not only accept that but give up that easily? They are taking the whole turn the other cheek thing way too far. I guess the kids, like the viewers, know what the ending is going to be anyway so it doesn’t really matter if they compete for the prize or not.

When a film pulls something like this, it declares that the story and audience is unimportant. Instead, it figures viewers will throw logic out the window and be content with tapping their toes to catchy songs. Not very likely…unless they’ve really left all independent thinking at the church doors.

Posted on February 3, 2009 in Reviews by

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