In the midst of wowing audiences with her confident vocals and feeling torn about “selling out,” a quasi-dorky intern who just happens to be a Christian, Quentin (Michael Welch of Twilight fame) arrives with a book to address her “heart issue.” Now I’m a big believer in God’s ability to move in mysterious ways, but there was something about that particular plot twist that felt far too easy and convenient. Part of the Christian life is wrestling with our beliefs—and here, Grace is spoon-fed exactly what she needs to do. With a book rather than thought-provoking conversation, no less.

Speaking of which, that’s precisely when the story takes its well-traveled turn toward predictability. Instead of even considering how Grace could be a Christian and a popular singer/songwriter, it was decided the only way her faith would remain strong was by immediately heading back to church.

Surely, there are plenty of believers (like the film's star AJ Michalka who talked open about that very thing at the press junket for Grace Unplugged) who manage to strike a balance between using their God-given gifts in the world without losing their soul in the process. While that clearly isn’t the direction the filmmakers wanted Grace’s story to take, another option wasn’t even debated or discussed.

And that’s when Grace Unplugged, as accomplished as it is, can’t help feeling like a missed opportunity. Instead of providing an intriguing window into how Christ-followers make crucial life decisions, it opts for the whole "safe for the family" routine—something that may please the parents of youth group kids but is still the path of least resistance that doesn’t necessarily help anyone who doesn’t already believe.

CAUTIONS:

  • Drugs/Alcohol: Social drinking depicted. On one occasion, Grace has clearly had too much to drink. References to Johnny’s past drug abuse.
  • Language/Profanity: None
  • Sex/Nudity: No sex or nudity. Grace is told that her body is her currency, and sometimes you have to spend it. But as much as she wants to “make it,” Grace eschews clothes/suggestive song lyrics that make her uncomfortable. Grace is given lingerie by her image consultant to wear when she “seals the deal” with her television star boyfriend, but that never ends up happening because Grace rejects his advances.
  • Violence: None

Publication date: October 3, 2013