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Case Number 19282: Small Claims Court

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We're All Angels

Passion River // 2008 // 88 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Clark Douglas // July 14th, 2010

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All Rise...

I guess the title means Judge Clark Douglas is an angel, too? Yeah, that's not likely.

The Charge

This is sex. This is religion. This is love.

The Case

Jason and deMarco are two young gay men who have been in a relationship for five years. They also happen to be contemporary Christian singers. Their choice of profession has put them in a good deal of controversy, as many Christian groups object to the idea of a gay couple performing Christian music and many gay groups raise an eyebrow at the duo's commitment to evangelizing. These men and their career are at the center of Robert Nunez's documentary We're All Angels, which attempts to explore the challenges of being a gay Christian in the modern world.

This is compelling subject matter, as Jason and deMarco have fallen into one of those small cracks in society that few people are really comfortable with. Unfortunately, the documentary isn't half as compelling as it ought to be, as its construction creates a rambling, unfocused experience that often lacks punch. It's one of those documentaries that has a strong hook but little of interest to deliver beyond that, as we have a lot of scenes in which the essential hook is merely repeated by Jason, deMarco, or those around them: "It's really hard to be an openly gay person and an openly Christian person at the same time."

There's some interest to be found in observing the behavior of the two men as they interact with each other, as there's a great deal of warmth between them but also some obvious frustration bubbling beneath the surface. Jason is the needier of the two, declaring that he's essentially, "a woman in every way" and is frequently irritated at deMarco for not being attuned to his emotional needs. deMarco regards himself as a typical guy; prone to rolling his eyes at Jason, less attentive to his surroundings and more easy-going than his partner. Both do engage in a bit of pop diva behavior from time to time, but deMarco is generally the more reasonable of the two when it comes to dealing with the business side of things. Alas, even this stuff feels rather ho-hum and uninvolving.

The music, interestingly enough, doesn't really fall into the rare subgenre of "gay Christian pop," but rather is merely ordinary Christian pop. Employing a blend of familiar hymns ("It is Well with My Soul"), worship numbers ("Here I am to Worship") and original songs ("All I Long For," "This is Love"), Jason and deMarco provide us with easy, breezy, inoffensive pop. It's generic stuff, but the point is that people from all walks of life deserve the right to create underwhelming Christian music. There are moments behind the scenes in which squabbling occasionally gets in the way of harmonious work, but onstage the duo always appears to be marvelously in sync.

Additional spice is occasionally added by the appearance of guest interviewees, most notably actor Chad Allen (a gay Christian actor who's no stranger to similar controversy himself). There's also a brief scene in which Jason and deMarco encounter K.D. Lang, informing her that they're gay Christian singers. She seems amused by the notion. There's a blink-and-you'll-miss-it appearance by Alan Cumming, too. We also hear from the parents of the guys, all of whom were initially hesitant about the lifestyle of their kids but who have slowly come to a point of acceptance.

The transfer is honestly quite mediocre, with poor detail and lots of grain. Even so, this is primarily a talking heads piece and image quality isn't a huge deal. The audio is fine, though it would have been nice if the musical numbers had slightly better sound (it occasionally sounds pinched and tinny). Dialogue is also occasionally distorted.

Documentaries traditionally don't come with a generous supply of supplements, but this one does. Things kick off with an engaging commentary featuring Jason, deMarco and director Robert Nunez. While this merely rehashes much of the conversation in the film at times, but it's enjoyable. "Off the Record: The Making of We're All Angels" (38 minutes) is a sloppy but in-depth making-of piece that features lots of interviews and behind-the-scenes footage. Interestingly, this is divided into 3-minute chapters…all chapters are exactly three minutes, even if this means a chapter starts in the middle of a sentence. Huh. "Impolite Conversation: Sex + Religion" (10 minutes) features interviews with gay-affirming pastors offering their opinions on what God really thinks about homosexuality. There are also a whopping 30 minutes of deleted scenes and two extended musical performances. Finally, Jason and deMarco spend five minutes sharing some additional resources for gay youth struggling with their sexuality.

The Verdict

The documentary is guilty of failing to make the most of its interesting subject matter, but the strong supplemental package is commended.

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Scales of Justice

Judgment: 70

Perp Profile

Studio: Passion River
Video Formats:
• 1.78:1 Anamorphic
Audio Formats:
• Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
Subtitles:
• English (CC)
Running Time: 88 Minutes
Release Year: 2008
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
Genres:
• Documentary
• Gay

Distinguishing Marks

• Commentary
• Deleted Scenes
• Featurettes
• Musical Performances
• Additional Resources

Accomplices

• IMDb








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