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What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Root of the Problem is a 2019 comedy-drama in which a greedy man inherits a plant that grows money from his recently deceased uncle-in-law. This is a faith-based movie that, as the title implies, explores the premise of "What if money grew on trees?" and uses the oft-quoted Bible verse "For the love of money is the root of all evil" as the theme. This message is presented in a heavy-handed way throughout the movie. A recurring attempt at humor is the lead character blurting out the words "hell" and "damn" while in the presence of a clergyman, and then hurriedly replacing those profanities with "heck" and "darn." A girl falls off the second floor of a dilapidated factory and requires hospitalization. The movie shows wine drinking and one passionate kiss. A man who lacks housing is accused of drug dealing and taken to jail by an overzealous detective.
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What's the story?
In ROOT OF THE PROBLEM, Paul Campbell is a greedy real estate agent who is always on the lookout to make a buck. When his wife Grace's Uncle John, a very wealthy man, passes away, Paul anticipates a lucrative inheritance, but is shocked and disappointed to learn that the only thing that he'll be inheriting is a plant. His disappointment soon fades, however, when he soon discovers that the plant buds not only leaves, but also $100 bills. Paul keeps the money for himself, not even telling his wife, and uses it to make expensive purchases such as a Porsche and a riding lawnmower. Grace grows suspicious of Paul's purchases, and so does a local detective specializing in financial crimes. At the same time, Paul discovers to his shock and dismay that the plant is no longer growing money. As Paul's life and marriage come dangerously close to falling apart, Paul begins to see, with the help of his family's clergyman, Uncle John's true intentions in giving Paul the money-sprouting plant, and must learn to value charity over greed.
Is it any good?
While there is a positive (if obvious and done to death) message to this film, there's no getting around the fact that this is a bad movie. Flat acting, stale jokes, corny dialogue, annoyingly repetitive background music, and cheap production values mar this faith-based comedy-drama in every scene. There are also plot holes that would be unintentionally hilarious if they weren't so excruciating and maddening. For example, the lead character, the greedy and selfish Paul, inherits a money-sprouting plant from his wife's uncle, but opts not to tell his wife about this and instead uses the money to buy a sports car and a riding lawnmower. The wife isn't as dumb as Paul seems to think she is, and questions Paul, who remains evasive.
Why, aside from making the lazy story a little too convenient, is Paul unable to tell his wife? It doesn't matter. The only thing that matters and takes precedence over such a mawkish, trite, and saccharine story, evidently, is the message. The message itself (greed bad, charity good) is, of course, a fine message to share, particularly for faith-based families looking for entertainment that runs counter to so many of the messages conveyed in our materialistic culture. But in sharing that message comes a responsibility to present entertainment worthy of the message, and in that regard, Root of the Problem fails completely.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about faith-based movies. How does Root of the Problem compare to other faith-based movies you've seen?
How is Paul not telling his wife about the money plant an example of a "plot hole"? How do plot holes affect the overall enjoyment of a movie? What are some other examples of movies and television shows with plot holes?
What are some other examples of movies that tell cautionary tales about the perils of greed and selfish behavior?
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