The Resurrection of Gavin Stone, rated PG
The Resurrection of Gavin Stone is pretty standard Christian movie fare. It contains some good attempts at humor but is overall rather slow and predictable.
This faith-based film is directed by Dallas Jenkins and written by Andrea Gyertson Nasfell (Mom’s Night Out). The low-budget film had an estimated budget of just $2 million (compare that to the $20 mil Jennifer Lawrence was paid for the film Passengers, for example). But let’s face it, most faith-based films are just not very good, inspiring this recent story from The Babylon Bee “Holy Spirit Empowers Man To Make It Through Christian Movie”.
Brett Dalton (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.) stars as the arrogant and self-centered Gavin Stone, a former child star of the sitcom Family Life, whose life has been in a downward spiral since his mother died. His latest drunken episode has resulted in him being sentenced to do 200 hours of state mandated community service hours to be served at Masonville Bible Church, a megachurch in his hometown of Masonville, Illinois. Note: the church used in the film is actually Harvest Bible Chapel in nearby Elgin, Illinois. Harvest Pastor James McDonald was an executive producer for the film.
Instead of mopping restroom floors, party-boy Gavin portrays himself as a Christian so that he can play the part of Jesus in the church’s stage production, being directed by Kelly Richardson (Anjelah Johnson-Reyes), the pastor’s daughter. D.B. Sweeney stars as Pastor Allen Richardson. Gavin sees the play as a way not only to get out of hard work, but also a way of getting closer to Kelly, who doesn’t comes across as a very likeable character.
We meet three local church guys (stereotypical Christian characters written and played for laughs), who help Gavin. He in turn then helps them to be better actors in the play. One of the guys is Doug, a tough biker, played by WWE (formerly the World Wrestling Foundation) Hall of Famer Shawn Michaels.
Gavin has a difficult relationship with his father Waylon, played by Neil Flynn, who he moves back in with while he does his community service work.
The acting performances from Dalton, Johnson-Reyes, Flynn and Michaels are solid, as is the directing by Jenkins. The story is predictable and the film will appeal to Christians, but will not get much interest from non-Christians. The film was somewhat entertaining, but pretty slow. Themes include grace, forgiveness and redemption. You might want to rent the film when it comes out on video or streaming, but best to save your money on seeing it in the theatre.