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To Save a Life Wants To Rescue Kids from the Satanic Messages of Gossip Girl

To Save a Life is about as subtle as this closing credit: "The producers would like to thank: GOD."
To Save a Life is about as subtle as this closing credit: "The producers would like to thank: GOD."

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To Save a Life
Directed by Brian Baugh
Samuel Goldwyn Films
Opens January 22, AMC Empire 25

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What would teenage Jesus do if he felt responsible for a childhood pal's suicide, knocked up his girlfriend, and played too much beer pong? Blond-haired, blue-eyed high school basketball star Jake (Randy Wayne) gets right with the Lord, swaying to the Christian rock of Souled Out at his new youth group and reaching out to Trenchcoat Mafia types like self-cutter Jonny (Sean Michael). The first-time effort of both director Brian Baugh and writer Jim Britts (who also produced), To Save a Life wants to rescue kids from the Satanic messages of Gossip Girl—a benign, even worthy enough objective, but must alternatives to empty, materialistic adolescence require baptism in the Pacific? The film's handling of teenage pregnancy follows Juno's, with Kimya Dawson lyrics supplanted by a repugnant linguistic twist regarding "choice." For all its initial attempts to soften its religiosity—the SoCal setting, the youth pastor who's profoundly sympathetic to his charges, the wispy-banged messiah who's gifted at using social-networking sites—To Save a Life is about as subtle as this closing credit: "The producers would like to thank: GOD."

 
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