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Movie Review

I’m in Love with a Church Girl

MPAA Rating: PG for thematic elements, a scene of violence, some suggestive content and brief language.

Reviewed by: Andrea McAteer

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Primary Audience:
Teens Adults
Christian Romance Drama
1 hr. 58 min.
Year of Release:
USA Release:
October 18, 2013 (wide—450+ theaters)
DVD: January 14, 2014
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Featuring: Jeffrey “Ja Rule” Atkins … Miles Montego
Michael MadsenFrank Harris
Stephen BaldwinJason McDaniels
Adrienne Bailon … Vanessa Leon
Martin Kove … Terry Edgemond
Vincent Pastore … Nicholas Halston
Galley Molina … Pastor Galley
T-Bone … Martin De LaFuente
Toby Mac … T
more »
Director: Steve Race
Producer: Reverence Gospel Media
Sean Dinwoodie … producer
more »
Distributor: FilmDistrict

“Come as you are.”

How often have we heard the saying “Don’t judge a book by its cover.” A shady room, piles of money and five street-wise guys sitting around a table making a deal—that’s how we meet Miles Montego, played by Ja’Rule. Miles is a street-wise concert promoter with some shady connections and large amounts of money. Living a life as one of the biggest drug dealers in town has attracted the attention of DEA officers Stephen Baldwin, Michael Madsen and their supervisor, Martin Kove. While working surveillance, Stephen Baldwin tries to piece together a case against Mile Montego, to bring him and his cohorts to justice. The deeper he digs, the more he thinks maybe Miles is a changed man.

Meanwhile, Miles gets invited to a picnic at the home of Nick (Vincent Pastore), his financial manager. It is there that he meets Vanessa Leon (Adrienne Bailon). They spend the day together talking, laughing and getting to know each other. They decide right up front, they don’t want to play any of the dating games, and each agree they are interested in pursuing a relationship. Vanessa is a “good girl,” a woman whose faith in God plays the biggest role in her life. Miles grew up in the Roman Catholic Church, but hasn’t attended in years. As he gets to know Vanessa better, God works in his heart, giving him the desire to learn more about Vanessa’s faith. This film is really a love story, a story about the relationship between Miles and Vanessa as well as Miles and God.

This movie is a little long and some of the acting is a little weak. Other actors I like are given such short screen time; I wonder if they were cast to lend their name to the film. Michael Madsen for one, who plays DEA agent Frank Harris is an actor I like, but I was disappointed to see him in only two scenes. Also, cast in a bit part is Christian recording artist, Toby Mac. Toby Mac’s music reflects the Scripture verse, “I am not ashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ…” (Romans 1:16). He has never sugarcoated it or toned it down. His love for God and his family is very clear. It was disappointing to see he was in only one very brief scene, and none of his music was in the score. T-Bone, who plays Miles’ pal Martin De La Fuente, is also a Christian rapper, but I am unfamiliar with his work [see Spotlight article]. The pastor in the film, Pastor Galley, is the writer and producer of this film, Galley Molina. The film is based on his life events.

There are some cute, funny moments in this film. When the offering basket is passed around, Miles’ reaction and Vanessa’s comments make for an amusing scene. Vanessa sticks to her conviction of abstaining from sex and while on a trip to promote his shows, Vanessa tells him he gets the couch. In one scene, we see him taking what we can assume is a cold shower. How different this is from main stream media where sex is not valued and an is so commonplace. Biblical views are seen as archaic in mainstream society, but the Bible tells us, “Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a person commits are outside the body, but whoever sins sexually, sins against their own body” (1 Corinthians 6:18). There is no nudity, no foul language and no sex or bloodshed.

PURITY—Should I save sex for marriage? Answer

My boyfriend wants to have sex. I don’t want to lose him. What should I do? Answer

There is some content that may be of concern to some. The shirts and dresses women wear in this film are low cut, and the dresses are short. The club scene is the backdrop for a lot, so women are dressed for a night out on the town, tight short dresses. Even at church, while outside, I was surprised by a woman in the background whose dress had such a plunging neckline. There is a lot of alcohol use—wine at dinner, beer and shots at the club. In one scene, where Miles doesn’t want to get shots with his friends, Vanessa gives him a look as if to say, Why not? There is talk at the club amongst Vanessa and other women about Miles’ womanizing days. There are guns drawn by Miles and his friends during an altercation and later by the police and DEA when the arrest Miles.

Biblical references abound in this movie. The first thing I noticed was the opening credits where the Executive Producer was simply put, “GOD.” Vanessa states very clearly that they need to be equally yolked and that God must be in the center of the relationship. Vanessa quotes 1 Corinthians 15:33, “Do not be misled, bad company corrupts good character.” That is something we can all apply to our lives, especially, I believe, with younger people who may be swayed by the influences of friends.

The fact that this is an overtly Christian movie, complete with praying, Bibles, abstinence, Scripture being quoted, and it is in theaters, is wonderful! We truly need more of this. This particular movie was not my fare, but I recognize and appreciate all it represents—a higher, Godly standard, in life AND in our entertainment. If you are looking for entertainment that uplifts the Christian faith or a film without vulgarities, nudity, sex or bloodshed, you can try this film. If you appreciate the genre of rap music, you may also enjoy this film. I’ve noticed more Christian films actually making it into theaters lately, some in a very limited release, but it’s refreshing to see.

Violence: Mild / Profanity: None / Sex/Nudity: None

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Viewer CommentsSend your comments
Positive—I knew nothing about this film going in, but a friend wanted to see it, so we did. There was a lot I really loved about this film—it’s touching, it’s memorable, and it has a good message without being overly preachy. There’s a conversion scene, which a lot of Christian movies leave out. The acting is better than in most “Christian” movies. It offers hope to those praying for loved ones to come to Christ, but also has the problem of “missionary dating” (which usually doesn’t have a happy ending).

My only complaint was, as my friend and I discussed afterward, the super-immodest clothing. The Christian heroine dressed even more immodestly than a lot of the secular girls I know, even at church! It’s a shame, it makes me a little reluctant to recommend it to my guy friends.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Good / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Charity, age 30 (USA)
Positive—This was a surprisingly good movie. Everything wasn’t absolutely perfect, but neither is life. We create a false image of perfection that pushes people away from Christ rather than to Him when we insist on everyone fitting into a perfect mold. It’s easy to react like the older brother in the prodigal son, but that position is not helpful. The movie gave a real portrayal of a life outside of Christ and the result of God drawing the sinner to Him. The families in the story consistently prayed for each other and that was refreshing.

I was impressed, since this sort of message is largely missing from movies these days. I recommend this movie for teens and adults.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Good / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Rcoaxum, age 38 (USA)
Negative—I want to say how unfortunate we are when we put at the beginning of the movie: Produced by God (they claim that the producer is God Himself). Producing a movie where the girl (Vanessa Leon in the movie = Adrienne Bailon) gets involved like right away with Miles and starts flirting right away. Goes to his house dressed up in an improper way, she looks like a prostitute. Goes to a hotel room and sleeps in the same room and they try to fix it with: No sex, okay? It sends the wrong message to the youth, that this behavior is all right.

The other thing is that Miles, the real one, comes driving a Lamborghini to church and shows off all dressed up in white and yes, he is the music director of the church is just the wrong way to shop where his heart is (material things dominates his heart). I feel bad that I even sat down through the whole movie. The scene at church and Miles yelling at God was uncalled for. Yes I know, he fixed it later with surrendering to Him. But this movie makes bad things look good. I don’t recommend it at all
My Ratings: Moral rating: Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 3
—Ozzie Barletta, age 55 (USA)
Negative—I am so disappointed in everyone who had a hand in producing, directing, and starring in this film. I wanted to see the film because I heard that one of my favorite Christian artist/songwriters had a hand in the project. That desire quickly faded when I started hearing from pastors and the Christian sites that there was way too much cleavage and women cheapening scenes throughout. That breaks my heart! There is enough of that going on from non-Christians to tolerate it from Christians. My husband and I refuse to support anything that makes it seem that it is okay for Christians to be no different than the world, in the way we dress, or carry ourselves.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Extremely Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 3
—Mwest, age 39 (USA)
Negative— I finally finished this film in three months, because it took that long to actually watch it until the end. This movie made me feel uncomfortable it. Here are the pluses: I am happy the scripting had Scriptures, but, if we want to be real, let’s talk about the Baptism in Jesus name and the Holy Ghost from on High. Let’s talk about, “Change” being a humble choice, going against the world and, more importantly, placing yourself lower and Him greater. Get back to the basics!

The scene where it looked like a church was borderline a club scene, are you serious? Would Christ be pleased? I don’t mean to sound harsh, but we are living in a time and day where we can’t play games. We need to be real. Jesus said, “… come out from among them and be ye separate…”

I believe that the intention of the movie was right… But it was delivered wrong. I also felt so uncomfortable, and this was borderline blasphemous, especially the scene where Miles is screaming at Chris. I see the comments mentioned before, so I won’t touch that. As Christians, we are to spread the Word, but we don’t let down our standards, and, furthermore, we sanctify ourselves (be separate), and what that means is that we don’t muddy the water, give any room for gray matter. This movie unfortunately had more gray matter than a message. You did okay directors, now do it again, if God leads you with the right delivery; no matter what… stand firm.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Extremely Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Olivia, age 29 (USA)

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