Most film critics don’t have faith in the concept of a faith-based film. A lot of them are created by producers who needed to pray over their motion pictures before they release them. The faith-based film, I’m In Love With A Church Girl, had tons of people buzzing before it even hit theaters. Commercials were aired on Fuse TV, BET, and other major networks. Celebrities like Ja Rule, Adrienne Bailon, Stephen Baldwin, Vincent Pastore, tobyMac, Jerry Rice, Vernon Davis, T-Bone, and Michael Madsen played a role in the film and got people stoked about it. In other words, a lot of money was put into I’m In Love With A Church Girl so high profile entertainers are associated with the visual and mainstream media covered it. At least that’s what it looked like from the outside looking in. There have been many faith-based films that have fallen short of glory, but a few actually are actually good. Courageous, Fireproof, and The Passion Of The Christ are known as solid movies. It’s not like there is a long list of great Christian flicks. The Christian movie industry isn’t swimming in cash either, so making a hit is not an easy task. Did I’m In Love With A Church Girl live up to the hype and does it make the short list of quality Christ centered movies? Should this Jam The Hype writer jam the hype? I think it depends on how you look at it.
The Christian Perspective:
I’m In Love With A Church Girl is about a former high-level drug trafficker Miles Montego (Ja Rule), who has it all (money, fame, respect and woman etc.). Montego falls in love with a church girl, named Vanessa Leon (Adrienne Bailon), so hard that he has to switch up his usual dating approach if he wants to be with her. Leon has his heart and God uses her to lead him to the light. Compelling scenes depict a story of God bringing Miles to Christ through his church girl and a series of unfortunate events and dangerous scenarios. His mother (Julia Montego) dies, he gets investigated by the government, comes words away from serious time in prison, Vanessa gets into a car crash that leaves her in critical condition, and many other parts play into God’s sovereign plan to lead Montego to Jesus. Not everything can be revealed because then there would be no point in watching of course.
You probably can tell many church folk will enjoy this movie just off the message, which is very powerful. A Christian worldview definitely shines through I’m In Love With A Church Girl and many people will respect it. Some Believers who are fans of Christian music will appreciate entertainers like Grammy-nominated emcee T-Bone and the legendary tobyMac being featured. They will appreciate that the movie isn’t horrible and worth watching, especially for a Christian Hip Hop fan. T-Bone’s music is played a few times in the movie, and he actually is a solid actor. Some fans of CHH will be proud. Toby executes his part as well. At the end of the day there are flaws that will be criticized by viewers no matter what their faith is, even the most devout of Christians. There are some corny scenes like the part where the world stops when Miles Montego sees Vanessa Leon while driving by her. The overly Christianeeze almost kills the whole vibe of the movie for even the most dedicated follower of the most high. How many prayer scenes did I’m In Love With A Church Girl need in order to prove it was faith-based? We get it. In addition, the plot will be predictable for some, but at the same time, you are interested to a degree and the message is thought provoking. You can tell they didn’t have Steven Spielberg money because other movies on the market have way better quality, though it is industry quality by a hair. This movie is a breath of fresh air because it’s something the whole family can watch and be inspired.
Christian Rating: 7 out of 1o
The Secular Perspective:
This motion picture actually succeeds in appealing to an urban and mainstream audience. Faith-based films rarely do, so you have to applaud them for that. It’s a unique movie for sure. Having platinum-selling rapper Ja Rule on the cast will get Hip Hop heads tuning in. Let’s not forget that T-Bone is very far from a scrub. The Hip Hop trailblazer has collaborated with the likes of KRS-ONE, Chino XL, Mack 10, and Darkchild. I believe that people who don’t subscribe to the Christian faith will want to see it, watch it, and think about faith because of it and possibly like the movie. I believe people are going to have mixed feelings about I’m In Love With A Church Girl, as I do.
Viewers who are not Christian may be a lot more critical. They will call out the downfalls mentioned in the Christian perspective and even point out more like the slow build ups at certain parts of the movie, the obvious attempt to proselytize (hey, it might reach some. Can’t knock the hustle), and inconsistent acting (sometimes the acting is good and sometimes you wish they rehearsed more). I really enjoyed the scene where Ja Rule has a conversation with God; he did a stellar job with that in my opinion. Did I mention the movie is obviously Christian? I’m In Love With A Church Girl might get some non-believers in the theater seats because of who is in it, but certain elements may get them out of them early. That doesn’t mean some won’t be intrigued by the message and ideas expressed in the movie. Plenty of people are open-minded and will give the movie a chance. For an urban faith-based movie produced by a faith-based company (Reverence Gospel Media), it was ok. I feel like it should be on TBN and not in theaters. It will work for some and possibly keep a Ja Rule fan watching.
Secular Rating: 5 out of 10
I’m In Love With A Church Girl has some positives, but it has many negatives as well. The movie has an interesting cast, a message, and some decent scenes. There are reasons to watch it. If you’re a Christian, the message will hit home, especially if you are a fan of the people delivering it. I’m In Love With A Church Girl is worth seeing but it misses the mark in many areas. You might want check it out. I have mixed feeling about I’m In Love With A Church Girl. I guess my view on it is lukewarm. It had potential to be great.