Saved! starts very strong, and with what seems to be a solid purpose, and then, shall we say, it loses it’s way, and becomes more of a typical “teen comedy”.
But even in it’s non-unique-ness (I’m sure that’s a word, right?), it still is pretty cool and kinda fun…AND, I guess there is a message when all is said and done.

Saved! tells the story of a bunch of Christian high schoolers, who are really into JC, and serve him happily and willingly. When one of the girls has a personal crisis, she loses her faith, but the clique leader is ready to take her faith to the extreme.

The very good cast of this flick features Jena Malone as the troubled teen Mary, which I have to think was named as such for a reason, Mandy Moore as super-Christian Hilary Faye, which also might have been named for a specific reason, Macaulay Culkin as a wheelchair bound rebel-brother to Mandy Moore, Eva Amurri as the Jewish wild child with matching cleavage, and Patrick Fugit as Patrick, because, well, why not.
I’ve always liked Jena Malone, and she continues to grow into a fine actress. Here she does a great job as Mary, a girl who’s life probably mirrors many a teen girl’s out in the real world…well, not exactly, but you know. It’s funny that her role here is slightly similar to her role in THE DANGEROUS LIVES OF ALTAR BOYS, which costarred Kieran Culkin, thespian brother of Macaulay. Macaulay does an OK job here, but I’m sorry, there’s something about him that’s off-putting to me. Am I the only one who sees / feels it?
Patrick Fugit does a great job, but I have to admit he doesn’t really have al that many lines. In the great ALMOST FAMOUS, he has many more lines, and I didn’t really buy him in the flick. Sorry. But here he’s cool. I don’t know if I’ve ever seen Eva Amurri, but I hope to see a lot more of her, and I don’t just mean her acting!
Sorry, horribly inappropriate.
Anyway, I think she was perfect as the sort of punkish, totally non-conformist.
As of this writing , I had never seen Mandy Moore’s acting. I figured she was a singer who decided to act on the side in between putting out CDs. But she’s actually made a lot of movies, and was actually acting before she ever put out a CD…AND…she’s really good!
Her character is the epitome of what’s wrong with people who push their beliefs on others, and she is thoroughly convincing in the role. I was very impressed.
Also in the flick are Mary Louise Parker and Martin Donovan. Both did nice jobs, especially Donovan, whose character, Pastor Skip, is so sincere that his use of slang and youth lingo comes across as endearing instead of truly pathetic.

I have to say, when I heard about this movie, I was very interested in seeing it. It’s almost like I have a love / hate thing going on with religion, and while I don’t completely deny the existence of anything greater than what we can clearly see with our eyes, I don’t readily accept it either.
But I definitely have a problem with people who are holier than thou, and are constantly pushing their beliefs on others. This movie is sort of a slap in the face to said offenders, and like I said before, it started strongly in that arena, but slowly devolved into more traditional high school teen territory. Still co-writers Michael Urban and Brian Danelly (who also directed) do a decent job of making a point at times. Saved! is entertaining, and will piss off many a religious zealot…and that’s good enough for me.