A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Mercy Rule is a Kirk Cameron-produced and -starring film about baseball and government interference with small businesses. It's a well-intentioned family movie that aims to portray American, God-fearing values, but at 118 minutes, it's a long, dry take on these issues that features a lot of slow motion and montages with glacial pacing. Nothing problematic here other than a subplot of a father who struggles with his desire to smoke cigarettes, but younger kids simply won't have the attention span to watch a proud business owner battle it out with a suit over local environmental regulations.
What's the story?
The Millers are facing two troubling issues in their family life at once. Dad John (Kirk Cameron) is facing interference from the local government with his scrap-metal business as the city leans toward more environmental practices. Son Cody (Jared Miller) struggles to reconcile that he's not a good enough baseball player to get much time in the game. As both dramas play out, the family must redefine their commitment to each other and their faith and examine what it really means to be a good team player.
Is it any good?
MERCY RULE could be a perfectly good family film for Christians about teamwork, patience, and faith if it were any good. Instead, it's 118 minutes of montages of baseball and family scenes that feel more like a very long country-music video than a film with any pacing or real plot. The issues here are relatable -- money troubles, entrepreneurial challenges, excelling at hobbies, and finding time for your family. But everything about the approach is indulgent and excessive, not to mention dry.
Kids who want to watch a film about baseball will find a film with extended scenes wherein Dad argues with a zoning guy or greedy corporate investor. Families looking for an upbeat or inspirational movie will find plodding scenes that have no real momentum, and it appears nothing was left on the cutting-room floor. This is an endurance test for families, most of whom won't have two hours to sit through ranting about big government just to see a few Hallmark-style montages of a family making cupcakes together on a Saturday morning.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about Mercy Rule's message. What do you think the film is trying to say about government regulation? Is it for them or against them? Does it make a good argument? Why, or why not?
How does faith figure into the film? Do you think it's an effective illustration of how faith helped this family deal with its struggles? How so?
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