Don’t expect to watch again

By Andrew McManus - Contributing Columnist

One positive this week. This isn’t a sequel, prequel, or reboot. The last few weeks we’ve had some duds that are some of the worst I’ve seen. However, maybe this film would change that? To be honest with you, this isn’t normally a film I would see. The Erwin Brothers are predominately “Christian” filmmakers. I am also a Christian and my faith is incredibly important to me, however, the films geared towards a faith-based crowd are USUALLY terrible.

Cheesy dialogue, cheesy music, a paper-thin plot, and an ending you can see a mile away. This one does seem slightly different though. We have a biopic about the former NFL quarterback Kurt Warner. So we have a football movie, but on paper, it looks like this is grounded in his and his wife’s faith.

I was hesitant but encouraged maybe this wouldn’t be like every other film by the Erwin brothers I had seen. One bright spot was the cast. We have Zachary Levi (From the absolutely wonderful show called Chuck….and Shazam!) DENNIS QUAID!!! And even Anna Paquin (True Blood and X-Men) leads this one. That’s a pretty star-studded cast! Would this break our streak of poor films and really start our 2022 off right?

Onto the film.

We open with a young Kurt Warner (Hart) watching Super Bowl XIX. (Miami Dolphins vs. San Francisco 49ers) We hear a voiceover (slightly cheesy) but Warner is telling himself he will be in the Super Bowl one day….

We cut to Warner (Levi) as QB for the University of Northern Iowa and we see his coach giving him grief. Coach Terry Allen is played by the GREAT Adam Baldwin! This connection will give fans of the series Chuck something to smile about. Baldwin and Levi starred in the series together. Chuck was the nerdy SOMEHOW a spy title character and Baldwin was one of his handlers.

The banter they had was classic and a wonderful part that made the show great. We saw a little of that spark they had and to be honest I was excited. I pointed to the screen and explained to my date all about what I just told you. We might have missed 10 solid minutes of dialogue. My fault. We didn’t miss much it’s ok.

We next get to a segment where essentially Kurt (Levi) meets his future wife Brenda (Pacquin.) They meet at a bar he frequents with one of his teammates and friends. It’s a country bar and he isn’t a country bar type. Yet he is fascinated by her. I was slightly encouraged to see a real-life setting in a “Christian” film. Believe it or not, some people go out and spend time with friends. Watch football, talk about life, not just on Sunday in a pew. So boy likes girl.

What does he do? He learns to line dance to impress her! The things we do for love…..I’m going skiing this winter………..I’ve never skied before. Eventually, Brenda (Pacquin) and Kurt (Levi) begin a relationship. She is standoffish at first, she is divorced, and has two young children from her first marriage. One of her children is legally blind, and if there are any moments where Christianity is mentioned is with him, or other life events that come up. Brenda’s son Zach immediately takes a liking to Kurt and this helps lower Brenda’s guard and a relationship starts to blossom.

We then see Kurt (Levi) anxiously awaiting the draft and hopeful he will be drafted. He is not. From here the film drags on. I know this is supposed to be an uplifting film and centered on God but I didn’t feel that. Warner’s character to me seems selfish and idiotic at times. There is a moment he is too prideful to get a job and they use change to buy gas. Maybe this is artistic licensing and exaggerating situations but it made me dislike the character. Eventually, Warner (Levi) gets a job stocking groceries. I guess the running out of gas scene was supposed to make him get a job carry more weight. I know everyday people struggle and have had many times using change to buy gas or groceries so I do understand but the way it played out here doesn’t work.

I won’t give away any more of the plot but I will say more football is to be seen. Those parts of the story work, and one nice inclusion was mixing real clips from actual games with the thematic telling of them. Nice touch.

So, did this film break the run of movies to skip? Unfortunately no. If you go in expecting a “Christian” film you will be disappointed. I made a comment at the end, it felt that this theme was peppered in to say “hey look at us!” Come watch this movie. Mainly just a marketing ploy. This is a shame because I’ve read about Kurt and Brenda’s story and their faith is a strong foundation for their relationship and marriage.

Unfortunately, this is added in with a sentence here and tears there. Felt forced. The cast is great, and this made me want to start the Chuck series over again. This isn’t a film I don’t see myself watching again. I am also a Bengals fan though. Who Dey! 2 stars out of 5

By Andrew McManus

Contributing Columnist