I am a Christian and I was cringing and yawning throughout this movie. The message is great (who can't get behind devoted fathers?) but the story is wielded like a blunt tool. The characters are cartoony and exist solely to further the story's message. They have no internal lives or specificity and the dialogue sounds like it was lifted from a sermon. Note to Kendrick: no one is this earnest and stilted in real life. Also the acting is wildly uneven. Javi and his wife are used as comic relief, but - good heavens! - were their jokes cheesy, overacted and their Hispanic accents false-sounding. The film is over-lit, racially unsettling (gang members are hilariously stereotypical: oafish, muscular black men who seem to relish violence for its own sake), far too long, and over plotted. There really is a lot to dislike in this film. It would have been better for Kendrick and co. to have recorded a sermon because the film plays out like an incredibly long parable acted out by puppets.
And for the haters: it's possible to critique a film on its artistic merits separate from its message. The message, again, is great. But the film is inelegant, overlong, didactic and, for the most part, poorly acted (but that may be a problem of the script and its flimsy characters) and, as the reviewer notes, as subtle as a hand grenade.