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Comedy movie directed by Brian Dannelly

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SAVED! From Obscurity

  • Nov 19, 2010
  • by
Teen comedies are a dime a dozen. Unfortunately, movies focusing on teen pregnancy are even more prevalent. So how do you come up with a twist on combining some tried-and-true formulas? Set your picture at a Christian high school, throw in some better-than-average talented actors, and back it up with a great sounding Christian-influenced movie soundtrack, and the end result is SAVED!, a scathingly funny indictment of all-things-Christian as well as it is a wholesome bit of praise for just the same sentiments.

Mary (played by the winning Jena Malone) is at a crossroads in her life: entering her senior year at school, she learns that her hunky Christian boyfriend is gay. An inadvertant bump on the head forces her to believe that Jesus wants her to sacrifice her virginity in order to "save" the youth ... who still ends up being carted off to Mercy House, a religious-themed halfway house for drug-abusers and the "sexually confused." Now pregnant, Mary must make the best of her situation, making and losing friends and coming to grips with the fact that -- despite her beliefs -- the Lord is going to see to it that her life has changed.

At times, SAVED is hilariously funny. The script is very tight, and it makes great use of some very funny characters: a haughty-taughty high school drama queen thinking she's God's gift to mankind (played with surprising spirit by pop star Mandy Moore); her brother -- wheelchair-bound -- and certain he's no Christian (underplayed by Macaulay Culkin); the bad-girl Jewish teen who's been kicked out of every other religious school in the area and has to settle on a Christian alternative; and the principal's son, a bright-eyed charming young man who just wants to do the right thing. All of these characters mesh perfectly to the level of writing provided, and Mary Louise Parker makes a wonderful cameo-style appearance as Mary's mother -- a woman who can't quite separate what's right from ... well ... what's religiously right.

Sadly, the last twenty minute (or so) of the film do descend to the level of the typical teen comedy -- just above the cut of an After School Special but well below the bawdy mirth of PORKIES or any installment of the AMERICAN PIE series -- sliding heavily into the predictable. However, like a good Christian, the film finds redemption in its closing moments, chucking more family sentiment into a few frames than most family dramas manage in two hours of film.

Forget the fact that the film deals with Christianity: the story satirizes the religion's convictions as much as it supports them. Forget the fact that this is a cut-above-average teen film: again, the story satirizes teen angst as much as it validates it. Forget the fact that SAVED! might just be what God wanted: even Christ is given a hilarious cameo in the form of a message-delivering billboard without being heavy-handed. In the end, the movie will put a smile on your face ... and quite possibly leave it there for several days later.

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November 21, 2010
I saw parts of this on cable and I have to say I need to commit some time to see it. Thanks for sharing!
More Saved! reviews
review by . September 21, 2006
posted in Movie Hype
When saved was released in theatres, I had several acquaintances and friends tell me that it was a really good movie. I was told that it dealt honestly with faith and that I should see it because "it's also a Christian movie." I was a bit surprised by some of these words of praise because they came from people who were mainly atheists and agnostics. I wasn't able to see the movie when it was in theatres and forgot about the film until I happened to see it while browsing at a local video store. I …
review by . February 05, 2006
posted in Movie Hype
Pros: Makes you think.     Cons: Predictable.     The Bottom Line: The Christians who protested this missed its point, as always.     What's more important? Keeping faith in your chosen religion or following the rules that are part of it? This was a question presented to me by a Christian friend who decided she was a lesbian several years ago, and it is essentially the question presented by Saved, a small independant comedy probably best …
review by . January 16, 2006
posted in Movie Hype
SAVED! is a testy little film that takes more chances than most and if not taken as a parody on our current religious polarizations, it could offend many. But this is a comedy and since Greek times, comedies find their most pungent lines in making fun of contentious ideas.    The setting is a fundamentalist Christian Baptist Highschool where everyone in the student body is endlessly praising Jesus and God and stretching their modes of entertainment and socialization to focus …
review by . November 22, 2004
Sometimes the truth can hurt. In "Saved!," fundamentalist Christians get a healthy dose of this fact. Now before somebody jumps on me for attacking Christians, let me tell you that I grew up in a fundamental home. When I went to college I became a "Bible-thumper" for a couple of years. I'm not saying that that is a terrible thing, I'm just saying that many Christians, especially younger ones, can take their beliefs to an extreme level that not only discourages others into finding out about their …
review by . June 23, 2004
Pros: Jena Malone, Mary-Louise Parker, Eva Amurri, very fun lines, wonderful message     Cons: gets a little cheesy, is sad if you think about it too much     The Bottom Line: What would Jesus do? No, really. What would he do?     In his feature film debut, writer/director Brian Dannelly scores an unlikely comedy hit with a tragic theme: intolerance and lack of sex education at Christian schools. The plot sounds like an after school special, …
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Ed ()
Ranked #12
What? You don't know enough about me from the picture? Get a clue! I'm a graduate from the School of Hard Knocks! You can find me around the web as "Trekscribbler" or "Manchops".   … more
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About this movie


Classic teen comedy mixes with cunning satire inSaved!. Fervent Christian Mary (Jena Malone,Donnie Darko) believes God wants her to save her gay boyfriend by sleeping with him. But he gets sent to an anti-gay indoctrination camp while she ends up pregnant--which starts to drive a wedge between Mary and her snotty best friend Hilary Faye (Mandy Moore,How to Deal). Meanwhile, they're both interested in the son (Patrick Fugit,Almost Famous) of their Christian school principal (Martin Donovan,Trust).Saved!respects faith but gleefully mocks the excesses and absurdities of contemporary organized religion, particularly its suburban, let's-speak-the-language-of-the-kids manifestations. The actors, including Macaulay Culkin (yes, fromHome Alone) and Mary Louise Parker (Fried Green Tomatoes), play their parts with sincerity, which makes the fusion of humor and heart succeed. A delightful movie.--Bret Fetzer
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Director: Brian Dannelly
Screen Writer: Brian Dannelly, Michael Urban
DVD Release Date: October 5, 2004
Runtime: 92 minutes
Studio: MGM (Video & DVD)
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