Teen flick takes shy potshots at religion

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Overall rating:

Score 3

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Saved

There’s some wicked satire in this debut from writer/director Brian Dannelly, co-produced by Michael Stipe. At American Eagle Christian High School, Hilary (Mandy Moore) domineers for Jesus. Among her serfs are Mary (Jena Malone), but when Mary gets pregnant trying to ‘save’ a gay boy, Hilary’s flock turns against her. She bonds with other misfits?Macaulay Culkin’s wheelchair-bound cynic, Patrick Fugit’s skater, Jewish rebel Eva Amurri?and wages war on the pious. Feuding at the Prom ensues, while a Christian rock band plays. It’s not as subversive as it believes, and in the last half-hour loses focus, copping out of offending the God squad. But the performances are feisty, and Martin Donovan’s wannabe-hip preacher is a gas?”Let’s kick it Jesus-style!” he exhorts.

Saved begins darker and sassier than Drop Dead Gorgeous or Bring It On, but in daring to broach sensitive ground?some churches slated as locations pulled out at the last minute?conceives its own anticlimax. It can’t follow through, for fear of crucifixion