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Review: In ‘Honk for Jesus,’ a megachurch mockumentary


Regina Corridor and Sterling Okay. Brown give totally dedicated performances in “Honk for Jesus. Save Your Soul,” so why does the movie lack religion in itself?

“Honk for Jesus,” Adamma Ebo’s directorial debut primarily based on her personal brief movie, is centered on a pair ripe for parody: Pastor Lee-Curtis Childs (Brown) and his loyal spouse, Trinitie (Corridor), leaders of an Atlanta-area Southern Baptist megachurch referred to as Wander to Higher Paths. It takes about half a minute to comprehend Childs’ non secular heart is extra designer label than Deuteronomy. Displaying off their closets, Lee-Curtis offers thanks for being “blessed with some lovely Prada.”

After a fast montage of brighter days for Wander to Higher Paths, “Honk for Jesus” catches up with the pastor and his spouse on the heels of a scandal that has emptied their congregation of 25,000. Their faces are nonetheless brilliant, although, as they welcome a documentary crew outdoors the church to chronicle their revival, main as much as an Easter reopening. When Lee-Curtis steps in chewing gum and Trinitie asks the camerawoman to edit round that, she will get no reply. “Oh, that’s proper,” she says. “You’re the fly-on-the-wall kind.”

The mockumentary has all the time been a reliable strategy to satirize not only a character or two however a subset of society. After what Christopher Visitor did to the world of canine reveals and Rob Reiner did to rock bands, Ebo and her producer sister, Adanne Ebo, have aimed on the wealthy realm of megachurches, taking inspiration from an actual 2010 scandal at Georgia’s New Beginning Missionary Baptist Church.

However the artwork of the mockumentary is a humorous factor. It has to look unrehearsed and appear actual whereas, typically, being meticulously deliberate. “Honk for Jesus,” although, solely gestures at a mockumentary construction, and infrequently merely abandons the premise. Some scenes are staged with a movie crew hovering round, whereas others — like one of many couple in mattress at evening — are merely filmed like a film, with no excuse for the digital camera’s presence.

There isn’t a lot that appears pure or lifelike in “Honk for Jesus,” together with the church itself. Such a big congregation would have a big employees and extra devoted parishioners — the form of solid of characters that somebody like Armando Iannucci would have quite a lot of enjoyable weaving all through the movie. However “Honk for Jesus” has an empty, airless chamber piece high quality, sticking largely to small scenes across the edges of the church that largely commerce on Lee-Curtis and Trinitie’s apparent hypocrisy.

Nevertheless it’s not typically a foul transfer to present actors like Corridor and Brown plenty of room to play, and so they actually carry ardour to their performances. They aren’t given wherever particularly to go, although. Lee-Curtis’ closeted homosexuality is performed extra for laughs than for empathy.

The movie’s keenest sense is the way it attracts nearer to Corridor’s Trinitie, as her confidence in her husband steadily wavers. “Honk for Jesus” ultimately doesn’t intention for something just like the madcap parody of, say, HBO’s riotous “The Righteous Gem stones,” however it might have been extra profitable if it took the method of “The Eyes of Tammy Faye,” and stored its digital camera glued to the primary girl of the church.

“Honk for Jesus. Save Your Soul,” a Focus Options launch, is rated R by the Movement Image Affiliation of America for language and a few sexual content material. Operating time: 102 minutes. Two stars out of 4.


Comply with AP Movie Author Jake Coyle on Twitter at: http://twitter.com/jakecoyleAP

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