October 9, 2008

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Fireproof (PG)
Kirk Cameron’s marriage is saved by Jesus in Fireproof, a movie that did indeed hit number four its first week out.

Which, just to compare big-budget Hollywood movies to this indie Christian film, is the same rank The Love Guru hit on its opening week. Not that The Love Guru should be anybody’s standard for anything.

However, since I mentioned it, Fireproof did earn less in its opening weekend than The Love Guru but it also cost considerably less to make and it actually has a built-in audience, whereas no religion is driving its parishioners to see The Love Guru.

On the other hand, few people who aren’t already members of some Christian, probably evangelical church are likely to line up to see Kirk Cameron play Caleb Holt, an angry firefighter who is almost successful in having run off his wife Catherine (Erin Bethea). His dad (Harris Malcom) tells Caleb to give it 40 days before finalizing the divorce and take the “Love Dare,” which requires Caleb to be nice to his wife and to sign up for the whole Christianity deal.

I didn’t hate this movie with the same ferocity with which I hated The Love Guru — again, not something anybody’s going to put on a movie poster. As a bit of preaching to the choir, it seems solid enough — the stories are no more or less cliché than your average Lifetime movie; the acting is bad but no worse than in most movies full of no-name stars. But I’m not in the choir, I don’t want a movie that was created message first, story last and the movie doesn’t offer much to those who aren’t specifically interested in the religious message. C-

Rated PG for thematic material and some peril. Directed by Alex Kendrick and written by Stephen Kendrick and Alex Kendrick, Fireproof is two hours and two minutes long and is distributed in limited release by Samuel Goldwyn Films.