> Volume 6 > Number 22


Brian Dannelly

Jena Malone
Mandy Moore
Macauley Culkin
Patrick Fugit
Heather Matarazzo
Eva Amurri
Chad Faust
Martin Donovan
Mary-Louise Parker

Release: 28 May 04



Saved!, a mildly offensive attempt at marrying inequity and piety, is perhaps one of the most disingenuous films to get major distribution this year. Unsure what itís even trying to say, the integration of diverging religious fanatics (those who BELIEVE and those who DONíT) comes off as a sly but wholly uncaring attempt to have it both ways. Even the villains, shat upon for four-fifths of the film are given false rewards for their impunities, as if anyone -- left cycle or right cycle -- would practice evenhandedness with them. The old story of the Hooker with a Heart of Gold has now been replaced by the Believer with a Heart of Gold. I might have had some qualms with The Believer a couple years ago, but at least it was willing to argue something other than bogus morality amidst unstrung depravity.

Perhaps this is a film only understandable to those who went to a religious school, unaware of the Mean Girls-style secular school freedom running amuck in the suburbs. And Saved!, if closed to only that particular subset, is any indication of what counts for understandable church school humor, then maybe the divide between private and public extends to comedy. This must mean, though, that the alums of the Harvard Lampoon didnít have Bible courses at their parochial schools.

For what itís worth -- likely nothing -- the inquisition at hand in Saved! is proto-religious, which means that even if one feels insulted by the filmís portrayal of its deeply spiritual characters in the promotions, donít worry. There are open arms at the end, and likely a workbook with passages from the Book of Psalms to help you find your own plastic Jesus

©2004, David Perry,, 28 May 2004