What Would Judge David Johnson do? Hint: the answer involves seasoned meat sticks.
It's time to ask a simple question.
A homeless wanderer (Jon Schneider, Smallville) makes his way into a town that's on the cusp of being sucked into the belly of Hell. A shifty land developer-turned-mayoral candidate has hatched a plan to buy a local church and turn it into a casino. This dastardly villain feels threatened by the wanderer for no discernible reason and dispatches a goon to beat him into a coma.
Which happens, but not before our grubby, unshowered hero transmits some much-needed philosophy to four people who are at a crossroads in their own lives: 1) the minister who lost his family in a car accident and bums out all six of his congregation members with his agnosticism, 2) the editor of a newspaper torn between running scurrilous tabloid fodder or losing readership, 3) a young musician faced with the prospect of signing a record deal and compromising his artistic integrity or something, and 4) a philanthropist searching for a purpose.
The hobo's words of hope to these folks: in your day-to-day life ask the question "What Would Jesus Do?"
And with that, welcome to 1997!
When this disc first arrived on my doorstep, I was sure it was re-issue of an older release. As a God-fearing individual I can buy into the concept of WWJD, but as a fad and a phenomenon I'm not as interested. Really, why wear those bands? I'm fairly certain that toting around an accessory noting how awesome your decision-making is would be something that Jesus would likely not do.
Pardon my grumpiness, but as an observer of Bible-centric movies made by the faithful, this latest outing represents a regression of a positive trend. There have been some successful examples of Christian moviemaking in recent years with Saving God, Faith Like Potatoes and To Save a Life. Were they Oscar contenders? No, but they were well-made, inspiring without being preachy and not corny. WWJD falters in all of these departments.
The storyline is simplistic (the mayor villain is a ridiculous construct), the acting (save for Schneider) is amateurish and there's nothing subtle about the messaging. I don't want a filmmaker to water down the message, Christian or otherwise, but unless a film like this is made expressly for believers—and then you're just preaching to the converted in a literal sense so what's the point, right?—you're going to keep some viewers at arm's length. It's a tricky balancing act, I'll grant, though it can be done.
Then again, if you are one of the converted and looking for an utterly innocuous film that delivers a good message clumsily, here you go.
The DVD: 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen, 5.1 surround, no extras.
Guilty of not keeping the positive trend going.
Give us your feedback!
What's "fair"? Whether positive or negative, our reviews should be unbiased, informative, and critique the material on its own merits.
Scales of Justice
Studio: Phase 4 Films
Review content copyright © 2011 David Johnson; Site design and review layout copyright © 2014 Verdict Partners LLC. All rights reserved.