This dramedy offers a gentle look at a dedicated young priest's struggle with strong romantic feelings. The Good Catholic fares well in the company of the charming Jane; Schmidt handles her character's snarky wit and impassioned singing well, while also showing Jane's growing emotions. Her dialogue sometimes smacks of eternal meet-cute, but Schmidt sells it with the right swirl of sass: "You're a priest, I'm dying; I totally get it. But under different circumstances, we're totally dating right now." Veteran McGinley, as basketball- and fast-food-loving Ollie, gets most of the laughs, while also convincingly grounding his freewheeling clergyman in humanism. Glover offers grounding as authority figure Victor. But it's Spicer's movie as Daniel, and in his first feature lead (he also co-produced), he delivers. His Daniel is likable without being overly sweet. He holds the screen alongside McGinley and Glover, and his chemistry with Schmidt works.
All of that said, the film doesn't bring the goods, either philosophically or theologically. It's structured around homilies by each of the clergymen, but their messages are muddled. The central question of why a priest as dedicated as Daniel should either be denied happiness in love or be defrocked is never addressed. Rather, it's taken as given, so the film instead tries to convey a largely internal struggle without windows into Daniel's thinking. At the climactic dinner party, you have to wonder what Daniel expected to happen -- or why he set that situation up in the first place. Perhaps the filmmakers thought that topic (questioning the discipline of celibacy) too volatile for a romantic dramedy, though it has certainly been explored before (think Keeping the Faith or The Thorn Birds). The script, by director Shoulberg, both hits and misses with character quirks and occasionally forced dialogue, but The Good Catholic's sins are mostly forgivable.