Although executive produced by T.D. Jakes, the publicity-savvy televangelist who conceived and costarred in 2004's Woman Thou Art Loosed (a prequel to 7th Day in name and religious conviction alone), director Neema Barnette's domestic melodrama-turned-crime thriller is too sensationally overcooked to register as a message from the pulpit. "Why did we get married anyway?" bemoans a philandering friend to New Orleans professor David Ames (Blair Underwood), a question that paraphrases the titles—and panders to the same underserved black audience—of two Tyler Perry enterprises. Broken up into chapters over the course of a biblically significant week, David's marriage to seemingly perfect real-estate agent Kari (Sharon Leal) is tested—as is her faith—after their young daughter is abducted, and salty detective Pam Grier's investigation reveals that Kari is a former crack whore. It only gets soapier as Kari's high-school crush and David's assistant are brought into the mix for some misguided sexual tension, as are the lurid habits of two pedophiles, one of them spouting fire-and-brimstone nonsense while dressed in an ice-cream vendor's bowtie and pinstripes. Flatly shot and lit like a cable-TV movie, with a mismatched Franken-score of flowery flourishes and suspense-feigning propulsion, On the 7th Day sadly contains some fine, earnest acting: a minor miracle in an otherwise unholy mess.
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