I'm in Love with a Church Girl

 
Drug dealer's conversion story appeals to faith audiences.
  • Review Date: October 17, 2013
  • Rated: PG
  • Genre: Drama
  • Release Year: 2013
  • Running Time: 115 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Strong faith-based messages: God can transform a man's life; even the most notorious criminal can have a change of heart through the grace of God, and other Bible-based themes.

Positive role models

Vanessa is a loving, supportive Christian woman. She wants to help Miles turn his life to God and make their relationship one based on faith and trust. Miles is really trying to be a legitimate concert promoter and to leave his shady dealings in the past; he's also very loyal to his old friends.

Violence

The cops arrest suspects at gunpoint. Miles protects his friends by pulling a gun on a rival.

Sex

A few kisses and mentions of sex (in addition to a sensual Bible verse from Song of Solomon) as well as one scene in which a provocatively dressed woman flirts and snuggles up to Miles. Miles admits he slept with a woman he introduces to Vanessa.

Language

Insults like "stupid," and "coward," plus a few "damn"s.

Consumerism

Miles drives a Bentley that is shown in many scenes, and there's a lingering close-up of the Lamborghini a pastor drives into the church parking lot. Vanessa drives a Sebring convertible. Apple products are also depicted.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Miles is a former drug dealer, a fact that's mentioned again and again in the movie. There's drinking or alcohol present in a few nightclub scenes, but it's all adults drinking.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that I'm in Love With a Church Girl is a faith-based film about a former drug dealer who turns his life to God with the help of his Christian girlfriend. Based on the life of pastor and former California drug smuggler Galley Molina, the movie was produced not just to entertain but to evangelize, so the main message is how even a former criminal can find forgiveness, acceptance, and love through God's grace. There's no language or sex scenes (although there are a few chaste kisses and mentions of sex), but there are a few moments in a nightclub when grown-ups drink alcohol, some overt brand placements (mostly cars), and a couple of moments when criminals or cops wield guns.

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What's the story?

Miles Montego (Jeff "Ja Rule" Atkins) has everything a former drug kingpin turned concert promoter could imagine: a shiny black Bentley, an 8-bedroom mansion, a close crew of friends, and the attention of any attractive woman who crosses his path. One day he spots a beautiful woman at a red light and comes across her at his financial advisor Nick's (Vincent Pastore) party. Nick introduces him to Vanessa (Adrienne Bailon), a church friend of his wife's, and explains that she's very devout. Smitten, Miles flirts with Vanessa, who is interested in him -- if he's willing to start going to church with him and open his heart to faith. With the DEA, led by Agent McDaniel (Stephen Baldwin) on his case, Miles has to decide whether he's willing to let Vanessa and God change his life.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

Based on the life story of Galley Molina, a former Northern California cocaine dealer who converted to Christianity in prison, the movie has all the elements of a compelling "testimony" -- the tale of how a criminal turned to the Lord. As a ministry tool in evangelical churches, this movie will no doubt be successful in sparking conversation about the power of God, and how no one is too sinful to be saved. Christian audiences looking for a movie with an inspirational story about the redemptive power of believing will be pleased with the production values, the recognizable cast, and the overt religious messages.

Secular audiences, however, will not be pleased with this movie. It's overlong (two hours) and overly sentimental, with Job-like disasters befalling and testing Miles (first his mother dies, then his beloved Vanessa lands in a coma after an accident, and then the DEA rounds up and arrests his crew). The acting is fine, but the dialogue is heavy-handed in its mission to preach and is formulaic, amateurish, and unbelievable. Even if you already read the Bible and attend church regularly, this sermonizing story may not resonate as a film but more as a Sunday School lesson.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the intersection of faith and entertainment. What do you think of this movie's positive messages? What about the movie's entertainment values? Can you like one aspect and not the other?

  • Do you think this movie will only appeal to Christian audiences? Who do you think will most enjoy this movie?

  • Ja Rule is one of many rappers who've transitioned to acting. How do you think he fares?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:October 18, 2013
DVD release date:January 14, 2014
Cast:Adrienne Bailon, Jeff "Ja Rule" Atkins, Stephen Baldwin
Director:Steve Race
Studio:Vivendi
Genre:Drama
Run time:115 minutes
MPAA rating:PG
MPAA explanation:thematic elements, a scene of violence, some suggestive content and brief language

This review of I'm in Love with a Church Girl was written by

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Teen, 14 years old Written byhiphoph May 9, 2014
age 12+
 

I'm in Love with a Church Girl

The film had some more iffy scenes. The main character has a bad past - drug dealing, sleeping around, fights, etc. He struggles with getting over his past in many scenes, pointing a gun at someone who was about to shoot his friend and flirting with a trashy girl at a bar. A main character get into a car accident. Miles tries to convince his girlfriend that having sex before marriage is okay with God. Miles also seems to be living two different lives at one point, acting sweet for his Christian girlfriend and telling his friends to "tone it down" when they're around her. Miles mother dies part way through the film. I was really disappointed with the quality of this film. The idea was good, but it's portrayal was not. The main girl, who was advertised as being "a church girl in every sense of the word"* and a "strong church going Christian" *, didn't seem to be as extreme as I expected. She agrees to hang out at Miles house (alone), wears some very short dresses, and even goes on a trip with him (he sleeps on the couch). Christians aren't really supposed to date people who aren't at their level of faith (you're supposed to be 'equally yoked') and while Vanessa dated Miles, it seemed almost like it was only because she was hoping that she could change him. There's one scene where Miles asks her why he should believe in God, and she seems to avoid the question. Besides all of the above reasons, the plot also seemed to be too fast paced, and Jeff Atkins (Miles) was the only actor who I felt like gave a great performance. There are several powerful scenes with his character, but on the whole, I would skip this film. *I got these from some comments and descriptions on IMDB's website. It shouldn't violate copyrighting laws, since it's not copyrighted material, but I wanted to let people know of it's source.
What other families should know
Great messages
Too much violence
Kid, 9 years old November 26, 2013
age 9+
 

The best!

This movie looks awesome!Yeah,there's a few d*mns,but come on CSM!9-year-olds can handle it(some 9 year olds).
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much swearing

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