A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Christian Mingle is an advertisement for commitment to born-again Christianity in the form of a story about a young woman seeking marriage. Dating self-absorbed guys has gone nowhere so she logs in with the online dating site of the title, meets a nice guy, and uses her advertising-agency wiles to pretend she is a believer. After a dark period of reassessment arrives, she becomes a Christian. Adults kiss, fully clothed.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
CHRISTIAN MINGLE takes its catchy title from the online dating website that matches committed born-again Christians looking for love. Gwyneth (Lacey Chabert) is a 30-year-old marketing director who spends her work life sugar-coating less-than-perfect products and ideas and launches them into the world. She is the last of her friends to find a guy and doesn't want to "spend another Christmas under the mistletoe alone." The movie suggests that the men she dates are self-absorbed creeps. Desperate to find a guy to "stick a ring on" her finger, as she puts it, she signs onto the online dating website. The lies begin the minute she starts filling out the entry questionnaire. When she meets Paul (Jonathan Patrick Moore), a really nice guy, she studies "Christianity for Dummies" and the Bible as if cramming for a test. She can't let him know she doesn't have Jesus in her life. The chemistry is there but eventually he learns she's been lying and breaks it off. This sends her on a journey toward faith and belief.
Is it any good?
This movie features nice performances by Moore and Chabert. However, the movie suggests that the failure of a relationship that has hardly begun would push someone to quit her job, move to a poor Mexican village, and enter into a personal relationship with Jesus. All of that might be possible in real life, but the motivation for the main character to make such drastic life changes is simply not in evidence here. Director Corbin Bernsen, who wrote the script and plays a born-again bicycle repair man, oversimplifies this complex process far more than even a movie requires. John O'Hurley plays a baldness cure inventor, and the possibility that it doesn't work creates a crisis of conscience in Gwyneth. She's been assigned to market the stuff and she doesn't want to have to lie. This is farfetched. Why does no one ask if there are clinical trials to back up the product's claims?
Oddly, most followers of Jesus tout the claim that God loves everyone, which is a policy of religious inclusiveness, but this plot hangs on the exclusionary position born-again parents take when they fear their son is being wooed by a non-believer. It's possible that the movie was made with the intention of attracting a mainstream audience, but it's not a stretch to guess that only the already faithful will be interested.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about what it means to be religious. Christian Mingle makes the distinction between those who are born Christian, baptized, and Sunday school-educated, and those who believe they have a personal relationship with Jesus. Is it possible to be religious in more than one way?
The movie makes a comparison between telling lies in one's life with working for an advertising agency, where much of the work requires making claims that might not be entirely true. Do you think there are situations in which advertising can be a force for good? Can you think of examples?
Can non-religious families enjoy faith-based movies? Why or why not?
- In theaters: October 23, 2014
- On DVD or streaming: January 13, 2015
- Cast: Lacey Chabert, Jonathan Patrick Moore, John O'Hurley, Corbin Bernsen
- Director: Corbin Bernsen
- Studio: Capitol Christian
- Genre: Romance
- Run time: 99 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG
- MPAA explanation: for mild thematic elements
- Last updated: September 21, 2019
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