Last night my husband and I watched this movie. I didn't expect much from it; in fact, the only reason we watched it was because our church is thinking about doing small groups about marriage and they want to use the Fireproof materials, so they encouraged us to watch the movie since we want to lead one such group.
I'm going to be honest here - I hated it. While I respect the filmmakers' effort and agree with the underlying principles of the movie (Jesus can change your life, marriage is hard work), I thought that the movie was poorly written, the acting abysmal, the dialogue weak, and the whole story unbelievable and silly. Plus, it's just too simplistic.
Now, I've had several people tell me they've seen God work in people's lives and marriages through this movie. That's great, it truly is. However, I think Fireproof is drivel.
The truth is, I have a problem with a lot of "Christian" art. For instance, you've probably seen those t-shirts that look like a name-brand logo but are actually a Bible verse or something, like "Jesus" written like "Coca-Cola." It's not "Jesus on a t-shirt" that I have a problem with. It's the lack of creativity. Also, it always annoyed me at youth camp when we would sing secular songs that had been re-written with religious lyrics. What are we saying - that Christians are incapable of coming up with their own songs and t-shirt designs? Christian fiction and music are another area where mediocrity flourishes, although there are exceptions (Frank Peretti and Third Day come to mind). It frustrates me that "Christian" media is so often sub-par. It just perpetuates what our culture already thinks about us - that we're stupid, narrow-minded, and not creative at all.
So you don't think I'm entirely a cynic, I am interested to see the materials that my church wants to use for small groups. I think Fireproof the movie is probably a good jumping-off place for a marriage class, but as a film, it doesn't work. I read one review of the movie that said it's probably great for a Bible study, but doesn't belong in theaters, and I think that pretty much sums it up for me. Well, and this quote from the book Velvet Elvis by Rob Bell:
It is possible for music to be labeled Christian and be terrible music. It could lack creativity and inspiration. The lyrics could be recycled cliches. That "Christian" band could actually be giving Jesus a bad name because they aren't a great band. It is possible for a movie to be a "Christian" movie and to be a terrible movie. It may actually desecrate the art form in its quality and storytelling and craft. Just because it is a Christian book by a Christian author and it was purchased in a Christian bookstore doesn't mean it is all true or good or beautiful. A Christian political group puts me in an awkward position: What if I disagree with them? Am I less of a Christian? What if I am convinced the "Christian" thing to do is to vote the exact opposite?
Christian is a great noun and a poor adjective.