Sunday, September 30, 2012

Salvation Boulevard

***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion, that's fine. To each their own. I am just sharing my opinions and perspective. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 1-5. 1, of course, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being good and 5, being epic!


Salvation Boulevard - 2 out of 5


Salvation Boulevard is one of those movies I caught a trailer of before another movie I was watching and found myself saying, “That looks cool. I shall add thee to me Netflix queue.” (I really talk like that.)

"Dafuq?"


Salvation Boulevard is a crime thriller/ comedy about an evangelical pastor named Dan Day (Pierce Brosnan) who shares a drink with Richard Dawkins-like atheist author (only Americanized and lacking Dawkins’ sharp wit); Peter Blaylock (Ed Harris) and accidentally ends up shooting the man in the head, putting him in a coma.  Fearing for his reputation and his congregation’s perception of him, Day decides to make it look like a suicide attempt.  The problem is that the entire event was witnessed by the born again former deadhead follower of Day’s; Carl Vandermeer (Greg Kinnear).  Now Carl needs to prove his innocence to his family, the police, a Mexican crime lord who involves himself and his crazy fundamentalist friend who twice attempts to murder him.

Why's there a lower-case "t" behind James Bond?


The trailer for this one made the film look like a delightful sacrilegious romp that pokes fun at the insanity that is organized religion.  However, the end product ended up being a mildly amusing movie that’s loaded with potential if only it had some guts to push the envelope further.  The film ultimately felt like it wanted to show how crazy certain followers can be without actually being offensive to those types whatsoever.

I'm sure whatever Jennifer Connolly is looking at is funnier than this one.


Suddenly Dante's Peak doesn't seem like such a bad
decision...
The film achieves minor success at showing how faith impacts people all over the religious spectrum.  From the low-end in the form of the starry-eyed fan-girl, Pastor Dan obsessed wife of Carl; Gwen (Jennifer Connelly) to the psychotic, moments away from pipe bombing an abortion clinic nutcase friend of Carl’s; Jerry Hobson.  They even focus, partly, on those who are good without God or question the existence of the invisible wizard in the sky.  The film’s protagonist atheist; Peter Blaylock, sadly spends most of his time in a coma and isn’t able to showcase the flipside much (and that’s sad because Ed Harris could have really made the movie come to life with this performance) so the film kinda/sort of shows this off in Carl’s daughter; Angie (Isabelle Fuhrman) as we see her try to come to grips with the struggle her father is going through and the fact she’s being pushed into the church by her parents--mostly her mother.  The film also shows the religious apathetic approach in the form of a fellow former deadhead now turned campus security guard who sees a kinship in the wayward Carl; Honey Foster (Marisa Tomei).

"Hmmm...my hand smells like onions...and I don't even eat onions."


This aspect of the film worked to a certain extent but could have been feathered out more by showing some more moderate members of Pastor Dan’s congregation and have more screen time for Ed Harris but, ultimately, the film’s strongest aspect came in the form of the performances from the performers involved--especially from Jim Gaffigan (his character needed more screen time--maybe even a scene with Ed Harris).  However, strong acting wasn’t enough to save a movie that felt like a limp fish and wet loaves (religious humor!) 

Do your Hot Pocket joke, Jim!


The story isn’t compelling enough to warrant its placement in the thriller category and the jokes aren’t funny enough to be put with the comedies either.  The reality is that the envelope really could have been pushed further and the insanity that is evangelicals could have been exploited so much more to create a wonderful send up that could have mirrored Pierce Brosnan’s chaotic (good chaotic) performance but with a weak story and a handling of religious fanatics that can only be described as “walking on eggshells” makes Salvation Boulevard deliver poorly on the possibilities it contained.

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