But Pastor Frank’s plan isn’t going to be deterred, even if it means telling his own wife she’s not talented enough for the group. Instead, he recruits Gloria Hamming (a hilarious Edi Patterson), a one-hit wonder whose Christian music career came to an abrupt end when news got out that her ex-husband came out of the closet. Then there’s Cara (Lindsey Stidham), a local beauty contest winner who’s pretty but knows more about partying than about Phillippians. And the group wouldn’t be complete without Ty, (Rich Pierrelouis) the token African American who’s expected to rap just because he’s, well, black and Zak (Damon Pfaff), a catchphrase-loving Christian who never sees life and morality with any shades of gray—just black and white. In interviews and videos, he’s the spiritual face of the group whose main goal is to convert, convert, convert those sinners!

With the line-up in place, Jesus People, which was initially a series of comedy vignettes that attracted a considerable cult following on the Independent Comedy Network, takes a VH1’s Behind the Music sort of turn—with far more laughs, of course—and documents the band’s journey from relative unknowns to successful crossover act with a mainstream pop hit. Of course, just like an episode of Behind the Music, you know it won’t be long before fame inevitably takes it toll on the group, a moment that hilariously plays out at an awards ceremony.

While Jesus People is entertaining with its razor-sharp commentary on the evangelical subculture, however, it never does so in a way that’s blatantly mean or insulting. If anything, the project is meant to unite the faithful and encourage them to create art that reaches a hurting world without resorting to all those familiar clichés that people often automatically associate with anything faith-based. It’s a great lesson in funny packaging, which is often the best way of making a statement, right?

For more information on Jesus People: The Movie, check out www.jesuspeoplefilm.com.

 
CAUTIONS:

  • Drugs/Alcohol:  References to social drinking.
  • Language/Profanity:  None.
  • Sex/Nudity:  A couple of double entendres, plus discussion of Gloria’s sex scandal involving her husband coming out of the closet. The issue of sexual purity before marriage is also discussed.
  • Violence:  Only of a comedic nature.

Christa Banister is a full-time freelancer writer, specializing in music, movies and books-related reviews and interviews and is the author of two novels, Around the World in 80 Dates and Blessed Are the Meddlers. Based in St. Paul, Minn., she also weighs in on various aspects of pop culture on her personal blog

For more information, including her upcoming book signings and sample chapters of her novels, check out her Website.