Everything a person needs to know about Faith Based is in its title. Also known as Faith Ba$ed, the comedy is clearly a hard hitting and supposedly funny attack against the Christian film industry. After all, many of the jokes write themselves and the genre constantly leaves itself open for lampooning. It is not so much whether the movie would be funny, but if it would be funny for an hour and a half.
There is certainly much of that, but director Vincent Masciale and screenwriter Luke Barnett go in a slightly different direction. Instead of being a full frontal assault on faith based filmmaking, the movie is more about its characters and independent films in general. Faith Based follows a familiar premise. Luke and Tanner are two adult aged children who are content to coast through life. Luke cleans swimming pools for a living while Tanner is a bartender. Luke’s father is not impressed by his son’s lack of initiative and is constantly comparing him to his siblings. When the two realize the money that can be made from making a Christian movie, they know exactly what to do next.
There are plenty of movies about dimwitted friends who cook up a crazy scheme to make money. How much they are able to overcome their predictability is based on well the audiences like the leads. Faith Based follows all the expected tropes. The foul mouthed Christian, the washed up action movie star, and the lifelong friendship being tested are all found here.
Tanner is written very well. In the midst of making their movie (cleverly titled A Prayer in Space), he comes to terms with what he is doing to make money may not be entirely on the up and up. While the two friends are not doing anything illegal, they are certainly taking advantage of people. This may not be groundbreaking storytelling, but Faith Based is framed in a way to show actual character development.
The supporting cast are the real standouts of the movie. Jason Alexander is great as the disingenuous Nicky Steel. (It is a small thing, but Faith Based also has characters with some of the most awesome names this side of the Space Mutiny episode of Mystery Science Theater 3000.) Margaret Cho also shines as the head of Christflix. She does not play the most original character, but she is great in the role.
Faith Based is worth a few laughs even before the movie begins. Even though it had not been seen yet, Fox News and Breitbart published articles condemning the film. Comments ranged from the weight of the actors appearing in the film to wishing death on the filmmakers. Those who actually watch the movie will see a movie with well written characters and some genuinely funny moments.