Film Review: I’m In Love With A Church Girl

I'm In Love With A Church Girl PosterIn the realm of faith-based films, there has been a mixed track record on the quality and ultimate success of film projects made in this genre.  The most successful films like “Fireproof,” “Facing The Giants” and “Courageous” have pushed the bar of religious filmmaking to higher levels and expectations.  “I’m In Love With A Church Girl” can be added to that list of the better films pushing the bar higher.  From the film’s fresh subject matter to the surprise casting to the great music scoring, “I’m In Love With A Church Girl” is a nice surprise for audiences looking for alternative storylines and new approaches at their local theatre.

Loosely based on the true-life story of Galley Molina (the film’s screenwriter and inspiration), the film recounts Mr. Molina’s life as an up-and-coming drug dealer and his life-changing meeting and romancing of a “Church Girl” named Vanessa (played by Adrienne Bailon).  The magnetic Miss Bailon owns each scene that she is in and elevates the material past stereotypes or cliché.  Her co-star, rapper Jeff “Ja Rule,” Atkins (playing Miles Montego) and actor Stephen Baldwin (playing Agent Josh McDaniels) help make “I’m In Love With A Church Girl” the most Hollywood of Un-Hollywood films.  Screenwriter Galley appears in the film himself and his story doesn’t shy away from depicting the “Thug Life,” nor from showing how a person can struggle to accept their belief in a Higher Power as their world collapses around them.

Mr. Molina and his Director, Steven Race, admirably do not go for Disney here, but instead they deliver a real story that will likely achieve the filmmaker’s spiritual goals as well as film-goers cinematic expectations.  Amid the faith-based, positive messaging there are some scenes with alcohol, guns, mentions of drugs, sexy costumes and fast cars.  Presumably, this is all to make sure that we know that Miles Montego is a legit bad guy and a successful one at that.  What was interesting at times, was Vanessa’s wardrobe choices as she was definitely costumed to be a sexy “Church Girl” and not the wall-flower, modest type.  Miss Bailon carries this off quite well.  Admittedly, the constraints of appealing to a faith-based film market must have hampered some of the screenwriting or editing in order to gain a PG-rating.  There are some questionable lines of dialogue and storylines used to help keep the story “clean” enough for its core audiences and a PG rating.

The surprise casting of Stephen Baldwin, Michael Madsen and Vincent Pastore add much to the film.  However, one wishes that Baldwin’s on-screen investigation partner (after Michael Madsen exits) was a stronger and more challenging actor.  The crime investigation and interrogation scenes are among the film’s strongest and reminds audiences just why he is the second-best actor in the Baldwin Family. 

Galley with Ja Rule and Adrienne Bailon

Courtesy, Reverence Gospel Media

“I’m In Love With A Church Girl” has a gritty, urban feel which merges well with the film’s uplifting redemptive storyline.  “Ja Rule” may not be the first rapper or rock star to make a leap into acting, but he might be the first to do so in a faith-based film.  He makes an impressive leap here and by the end of the film, he stretches his acting chops as he pushes Miles Montego’s character to his spiritual limits.  “Ja Rule” (as Miles) has a “yelling at God” scene which is key to Ja Rule’s redemption and helps to guide what could have been a pedestrian faith-based film into a much better than average production.  This film should do very well with Church Groups, but it does have a chance for some cross-over appeal and fans of Ja Rule and Baldwin.

3 Stars out of 4.

 

© 2013 The Willams View

Posted in: Entertainment, Reviews

About the Author:

Jennifer Williams is an accomplished writer, interviewer and critical reviewer having written about or covered many subjects of interests. Having graduated from Tulane University, La Salle University and New York University, Kevin's career background in Politics and Civic Affairs, Public Relations, Marketing, Non-Profit Management and Filmmaking have helped inspire much of her past artistic and creative efforts. Jennifer directed and co-produced the documentary feature film, Fear Of A Black Republican. Her latest film, Rebel Song, looks at a middle-aged American Celtic Rock band and the music inspired by the Irish Republican Army (IRA). Rebel Song is expected to be released in 2014. In addition to The Williams View, Jennifer is also the Entertainment and Politics Editor for Politisite, a Contributing Writer for Townhall, Breitbart's Big Hollywood, Liberatchik and Hip Hop Republican. Jennifer has been interviewed or profiled across many Media outlets such as the Washington Post, Christian Science Monitor, Philadelphia Inquirer, Kansas City Star, L.A. Weekly; Current TV, Christian Broadcasting Network, Huffington Post Live, Al Jazeera and BET News; radio programs ranging from National Public Radio, Voice of Russia - American Edition, the Mark Davis Radio Show, the Chris Stigall Show, the Steve Deace Show, the Bob Grant Show, Victoria Taft Show, to the Michael Eric Dyson Show and many others.

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