Reviewed by: Andrea McAteer
Why is the world the way it is? If God is all-knowing, all-powerful, and loving, would He really create a world like this? (filled with oppression, suffering, death and cruelty) Answer
Jeffrey “Ja Rule” Atkins … Miles Montego
Michael Madsen … Frank Harris
Stephen Baldwin … Jason 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
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Reverence Gospel Media
Sean Dinwoodie … producer
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“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.
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
See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.