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Saving Christmas
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by Jaycie

"Credibility roasting on an open fire . . ."
1 stars

If you believe the war on Christmas is real, you should be enraged at Kirk Cameron for this round of friendly fire. Not even ISIS could mount such a devastating offensive against Christmas.

To Cameron's credit, though, Saving Christmas is not 100 minutes of right-wing crankery about how political correctness is destroying Judeo-Christian tradition or whatever. Rather, he aims to correct the perception among some devout Christians that the holiday's secular imagery isn't Biblical enough. That's different, at least, but most of his explanations sound like he's making them up as he goes along. I won't give any of them away, because they're the only reason to see the movie, but you will most certainly look at your tree and your pile of presents the exact same way as you did before. That, or you won't be able to look at anything Christmas-related without thinking of Cameron's smug, punch-inducing voice. Either way, he won't convince you.

Kirk Cameron plays himself, of course, but our actual protagonist is *groan* Christian (Darren Doane), his fictional brother-in-law. Kirk's sister (Bridgette Ridenour, née Cameron), named "Kirk's Sister" according to IMDb, is throwing her annual Christmas bash in a living room the size of a suburban mall's center court. But Christian is *groooooan* not feeling the Christmas spirit, for the traditional commercialism and festoonery has nothing to do with Jesus. OR DOES IT? Joining him in the family car, Kirk takes it upon himself to explain how these things actually have everything to do with Jesus. And all the movie has at stake is whether or not his yammering will be enough to get Christian back into the house to enjoy the party. (Dude, Kirk Cameron is talking to you. Of course you should go back into the house.)

There are also bizarre asides about partygoer Diondre's (David Shannon) workplace deciding to cancel Crazy Shirt Day, which goes absolutely nowhere. And there's a 15-minute dance sequence performed by your mother's book club after they've been in the prosecco for two hours. And there's a character who might have had a name delivering a three-minute stream of conspiracist consciousness that must be what the Internet sounds like to people who have never used the Internet. And there's Cameron talking directly to the camera and sipping hot chocolate with an almost sexual ardor. Yes, there's only one woman for this good godly man, and that woman is Swiss Miss.

Most of these mistakes are the work of Doane, also the director, whose portfolio includes some born-again documentaries, another feature starring Cameron as himself, and music videos for such luminaries of worship music as blink-182 and Buckcherry. I blame Cameron for the rest, including casting the least attractive of his three sisters, who goes through the entire proceedings with the expression of someone smelling her own gas. (Presumably Candace was busy in the early stages of the far more dignified production that is Fuller House.) As for Doane, the only way to describe his performance is "Shia LaBeouf in a lumpy sweater." The only other cast member worth mentioning is Shannon, who bears a disturbing resemblance to the rapper from "Friday" and possesses even less dignity.

Saving Christmas fails as both traditional holiday filler and religious propaganda. But does it succeed as an enjoyably bad movie? That would be a no. Most enjoyably bad movies have the decency to end one mistake and barrel on to another in fairly short order. Instead, about half the movie shows Cameron and Doane constantly rephrasing their own lines. What should be a 60-second outro on Cameron's part becomes five to 10 solid minutes of watching other people eat; what should be a 20-second demand for answers from Doane becomes three minutes of Chandler-style gesticulating. In one especially painful moment, Cameron tells Doane he is wrong using about seven different euphemisms in a row. Why does he need seven euphemisms for the same concept? Was he that desperate to stretch this out into a feature-length film? If that's the case – crazy thought – perhaps the premise is rather flimsy.

Cameron likes to tell his fans that the rock-bottom reputation of Saving Christmas is the fault of "haters and atheists." But you don't need to have any opinion at all of him or of Christianity to agree that this movie is a holy terror.

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originally posted: 10/01/16 06:21:41
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User Comments

3/13/17 morris campbell fuck kirk cameron what phony he is 1 stars
11/05/16 David Hollingsworth Why, just why?! 1 stars
10/02/16 Jeff Faulkner yuck 1 stars
8/23/15 Dr. Lao A sermon disguised as a movie (and a bad sermon at that) 1 stars
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  14-Nov-2014 (PG)



Directed by
  Darren Doane

Written by
  Darren Doane
  Cheston Hervey

  Kirk Cameron
  Darren Doane
  Raphi Henly
  Ben Kientz
  Bridgette Ridenour

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