SAVED! | Film | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

Mary's going to be a senior at American Eagle Christian High School, where she's atop the social ladder as a member of the Christian Jewels ("like a girl gang for Jesus"). When her boyfriend says he's gay, she fervently offers the best Christian cure she knows. He gets sent away for "de-gayification" anyhow; Mary starts a new school year pregnant. Brian Dannelly's satiric comedy mines the same dilemmas as any slightly smart teen movie (essentially kids falling in and out of popularity, with a resolution at the prom), but his fresh angle is depicting the seemingly parallel universe of deeply committed Christian teens. This is a world where charismatic teachers ask if the students are "down with G-O-D"; prayer circles are downright competitive; and The Replacements screed "We'll Inherit the Earth" gets reinterpreted as Christian rock. Anti-heroine Jena Malone is adorable as the confused Mary. Mandy Moore has a fun turn as the school's alpha b-word, who drags Macauley Culkin and Patrick Fugit (as a top Christian skateboarder!) in her wake. Satan takes the form of Cassandra (Eva Amurri), the school's lone Jew and bad girl. I wish this film hadn't ended so neatly, with lots of love and salvation, but I still learned a valuable lesson: Turns out the Jesus kids are just as mean and petty as the rest of us, but only because God told them to be so. 2.5 cameras

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