You know I’m in Love with a Church Girl‘s religious credentials are unimpeachable, because its credits list as an executive producer none other than God. As such, it’s hard to quibble with Steve Race’s film on theological grounds, though in narrative and aesthetic terms, there’s something unholy about its mixture of inane clichés, shallow music-video glossiness, and incessant preaching.
Starring rapper-turned-actor Ja Rule, the sluggish story concerns Miles (Rule), a flashy, cocky former drug dealer who’s described as “smart, rich, and good-looking” by the DEA agent (Stephen Baldwin) convinced he’s still in criminal business. Amid endless talk about bible study groups and spiritual crises, Miles’s life becomes complicated when he falls in love with Vanessa (Adrienne Bailon), who at every turn lectures him about the virtues of the Good Book and attending church—sermons that he tolerates even though her refusal to have premarital sex means he has to take cold showers.
With its every conversation about God, Church Girl proves tediously one-note. Depicting religion as just as sexy as the materialistic gangster life, and with its characters articulating a preference for the term “people of faith” over “Christian,” the film is merely propaganda aimed at rebranding its message for a modern market.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on October 16, 2013