Mary is a religiously devoted student at American Eagle High School, who decides that the only way to save her gay boyfriend from the fires of hell is to sleep with him (she reckons Jesus won’t mind if she does it to save his soul). However this leaves her pregnant and questioning whether the religious strictures that she believes can really be true.
Okay, before anyone starts screaming ‘Blasphemy! Blasphemy!’ I’d better point out that this movie doesn’t really have a problem with Christianity. What Saved! sets out to do is satirise the intense zealotry of certain fundamentalists, who believe they’re right and everyone else is wrong and that belief in itself is more important than what you’re believing. While it’s not going to go down as one of the world’s greatest examinations of the religious right, it is surprisingly smart for a teen flick, and most importantly, it’s funny.
Particular praise needs to go to Mandy Moore, who’s simply marvellous in her portrayal of a teenage girl who’s trying to turn being holier than thou into an art form. There’s also a surprisingly poignant performance from Macaulay Culkin (yes, I didn’t believe it either) as a disabled teen finding his feet in the world. The special features are quite fun for a bit of added entertainment, but there’s little here to really get your teeth into. Saved!’s satire may miss its mark on occasion and perhaps its stereotypes are a little too broad, but like Mean Girls, it’s far smarter than your average teen movie, and also a lot more entertaining.
Reviewer: Tim Isaac