SAVED!

3 Stars
Year Released: 2003
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Running Time: 92 minutes
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There’s really nothing funnier than a movie that takes aim at religious institutions….except fart jokes and guys getting kicked in the nuts. But “Saved!” manages to avoid the latter and indulge heavily in the former with pretty damned good results. Equal parts satire, spoof and teen comedy, “Saved!” is just a sweet and funny movie that starts off with bite but settles into an honest feeling of happiness and acceptance for all types of people and their choices.

Mary (Malone) attends an ultra-hip Catholic school along with her pal Hillary Faye (Moore) and Hillary Faye’s wheelchair bound brother, Roland (Culkin). Hillary Faye and Mary are quintessential Jesus groupies who want nothing more from life than to answer that bumper sticker that reads, “what would Jesus do?” It’s this thought pattern that enters Mary’s mind when her hunky boyfriend Dean (Faust) tells her he thinks he’s gay.

Hopefully Jesus wouldn’t do what Mary does as she sleeps with Dean to try and shake him of his homo-erotic tendencies. Shortly thereafter Dean is shipped off to a bible camp to rid him of his “gayness” leaving Mary alone with an unexpected bun in the oven.

Strangely hilarity doesn’t really ensue as this film actually manages to shift into a gentle exploration of why the judgments of the Catholic church are so screwed up. “Saved!” is still funny due to Hillary Faye’s over-zealousness and Roland’s slide into a wheelchair bound bad boy. But it’s Mary’s journey and decisions that make great food for thought…especially for those who feel the need to adhere to many antiquated Christian philosophies. I mean, wasn’t Jesus all about loving one another and not judging?

Mary soon finds friendship in Cassandra (Amurri), a substance abusing semi-slut who was hoarding all the finger-pointing to herself before Mary lost her purity. Eva Amurri (who I just discovered is Susan Sarandon’s daughter) is great as Cassandra, sexy bad girl whose rough edges (of course) hide a huge heart. This role could launch her as a new screen hottie.

Sadly, I’m not involved enough in the Catholic religion to really feel all the jokes in “Saved!.” But it’s still a funny movie. Teen queen Mandy Moore also is quite funny and I (like many) wasn’t expecting her to be much more than product placement.

“Saved!” isn’t going to change the face of comedy. But it could change the attitudes of families who feel the need to be good Christians in this world that has drastically changed from when the guidebook was written.  Afterall, it’s easier to catch flies with honey than it is to catch them with vinegar.
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Posted on May 30, 2004 in Reviews by
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