Details

Courageous
Directed by Alex Kendrick
TriStar Pictures
Opens September 30

A belligerent and hokey sermon on faith and family, Courageous preaches ad nauseum about the intertwined values of cherishing God and being a devoted, active father. Writer/ director/star Alex Kendrick's story concerns four small-town-U.S.A. cops and one Hispanic laborer who renew their commitment to Christ and their children when one of them, Adam (Kendrick), loses his daughter in a car accident shortly after refusing to playfully dance with her—a tragedy that exposes the little girl as merely a crass pawn in service of the material's mega-church-pandering message. When not focusing on guys sincerely discussing their own dads over post-grilling non-alcoholic beverages, or sobbing over their deeply felt paternal grief, regret and prayers, the film wastes its time on tossed-off crime shenanigans in which gangs (here by and large played by African- American men in doo-rags) are posited as the potentially horrific future for kids not blessed with positive male role models. Earnest, corny and—with regard to one officer giving his teen daughter some sort of heart-shaped chastity-related promise ring— borderline creepy, Courageous endlessly expounds on the importance of God in men's lives but fails to answer the more pressing question of why religious sagas such as this treat subtlety as a sin.

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