For Christ's Sake:
Forgive me lord, for I am about to sin all over this mother, touted on the DVD cover with the tag line, "finally, a funny church sex scandal". It's worth noting that this is not a comedy about Catholic Priests raping altar boys, although I'm sure that in the right hands that might be a disturbingly funny shocker. In the hands of screenwriter Jeff Lewis, director Jackson Douglas, and seven producers, this "quirky indie comedy" with a merely tolerable lead actor has been smoothed-out into bland tedium.
Oh, Jesus, it's not that I don't like comedies about your flock, I just wish those members weren't so dull, and believe me, it looks like it would be pretty hard to make a bland, boring comedy about a small town priest, Robert, (Galaxy Quest's Jed Rees) tricked into providing a bridge loan between his secretly porn-producing brother and the mob (one of several plot-points that's given very short shrift). But Christ, that's what they've done. Yea, and in the doing, they've inspired me to consider committing a few venal sins - mostly killing and feeling wrath and such.
Even with lovely Sara Rue (Less Than Perfect) as lead porn performer Candy, doing a very brief Mr. Skin bit, (at about the 1:13 mark) and Will Sasso as Robert's crazy brother Alan, Christ's Sake hardly raises a smile, let alone anything else. All the indie comedy parts are there; officious jerk of a competing priest, lead priest-out-of-water elements, (as Robert unknowingly shoehorns himself into proceedings) 'shocking' porno sexuality, a quirky, meddling gay couple, and even John (Dukes of Hazzard) Schneider making an appearance as God - but the sum of those parts is seriously less than the whole. For Christ's Sake ultimately irritates through tedium and an inability to make us connect with any of the characters.
While it may be hard to accurately place pins on the spots where things go wrong, a leisurely pace, lack of effective shock humor, and roundly lackluster performances are good places to look. Rue and Sasso fare best, but are due only faint praise. Rue is certainly sexy and a decent actress, though here her Madonna/whore character (she only wants to show Robert that sex is fun) never gains traction. She's too relaxed, and brings little emotional depth to her part, meaning she doesn't convince as either a porn performer or someone who might care for Robert. It'd be more convincing if she just wanted to tease and befuddle the man, but the specter of humanist love has to come up. Meanwhile Sasso's crass, lackadaisical Alan also lacks fire. He's amusing and disingenuous, but little else, turning in a performance that wouldn't have generated many laughs even on Mad TV.
Rees (who must also suffer the ignominy of having his name misspelled on the DVD cover) lacks even the leading-man good looks that would make Candy's attraction believable. Otherwise, his bumbling naiveté and tepid schoolmarm mannerisms mostly serve to make us care very little about anything that happens to him, and any opportunities to dole out some truly uncomfortable transgression and humor from his temptations are squandered. (Only Alex Borstein in a tiny role is allowed to go there, though her incestuously perverted mother character is disturbingly gross and needy, rather than funny.)
A few amusing scenes of porn production between Candy and her leading man cough up some dirty language laughs, but that's about it. So, Lord, I'm not sure what I should do. I'd like to cast the first stone, and pound those irritating characters a bit. I'd like to smite director Douglas, and actor Rees. I'd like to motorboat Sara Rue. So I guess I'm going to hell, where I'll probably have to watch For Christ's Sake again. Save your soul and Skip It. (I'm sure you can find those pictures of Rue online somewhere, if you, you know, need them.)
A fairly heavenly 16 X 9 anamorphic widescreen transfer belies this indie comedy's budget, with rich, lush colors and nice black levels. The image is pretty crisp and sharp, with good detail levels. Compression problems are kept to a bare minimum, mostly appearing in the form of some minor aliasing.
An English Language Dolby Digital 2.0 Audio Track is equally solid for this dialog-driven film. A little bit of what sounds like poor room sound means some of the dialog contains a bit of echo, but that's about it. Dialog and music are mixed well and otherwise there aren't real problems like drop outs or distortion to trouble you. However if you don't like quirky indie comedy music that tells you who you should find goofy, with the introduction of those irritating pizzicato strings and such, your need to be dissatisfied will be met.
A big old auto-navigation Stills Gallery delivers plenty of BTS shots, while the film's Trailer and other Previews are all you get for extras. There are no subtitles or closed captioning.
Oh Christ, it's another quirky indie comedy, this time about a priest conned into funding a porn movie. An OK cast including Will Sasso and Sara Rue flounder slowly through mild situations that fail to bring the funny, while still delivering a boatload of irritation. Lead Jed Rees barely inhabits his poorly written nebbish of a frustrated virgin, and save for the inclusion of a two-second shot of Rue's boobs to soothe you, you'll be frustrated too. Skip It.
- Kurt Dahlke
~ More of Dahlke's DVD Talk reviews here at DVD Talk I'm not just a writer, I paint colorful, modern abstracts, too! Check them out here KurtDahlke.com