Saturday, February 18, 2006

The Second Chance

I'm not going to go with my normal format for reviewing this movie. It's not something the whole country is going to get this weekend--it's only on 87 screens according to Box Office Mojo. Yes, it's another Christian-themed movie about problems faced inside the church, this one based and filmed around Nashville.

Michael W. Smith, the local gospel singer who enjoyed some pop success in the early 90's stars as Ethan Jenkins. He works as a hopeful pastor in a ministry group that has interests locally and abroad. One of their interests is improving The Second Chance church, a predominantly black place of worship set in a bad neighborhood. Jenkins enlists their pastor, Jake Sanders (Jeff Obafemi Carr) to come out to a massive multimedia church called The Rock and plead to the worshippers to give money to the fledgling church. But Sanders is a bit of a hothead and veers off course and tells them, "If you don't want to help, then keep your damn money." Oops.

Jenkins actually gets punished for his call, and is told to go observe Sanders and The Second Chance. Jenkins doesn't want to be there, but he gives it a go. Sanders doesn't want him to be there, either, figuring he's just another white boy coming out for a temporary stay in the projects so he can tell all the other white guys "he's been there." But now, Jenkins's job seems moot, because the ministry group (led by local actor David Alford) wants to demolish The Second Chance, build a new one, and also reconstruct the whole neighborhood to include hotels and a baseball stadium. Heresy! So, can Jenkins learn to like The Second Chance, and can he save it?

As films go, and how one goes about critiquing films, it's proofed against it. Yeah, the production values aren't the best, and Smith isn't the best actor in the world even though he's affable. But, religious moviegoers should have a good time--it's not bad, it's even above average.

Also of note are the local actors who are in this. I'm sure there are more but the ones I recognized were Alford and Jeremy Childs, both who appeared in The Last Castle. Matt Chiorini also makes an appearance. These are some of the more familiar faces in the Nashville theater scene and even though this is a small religious production, it's always cool to see them on a movie screen.


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