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Saved! rightfully takes cheap shots at Christianity

Stereotyping religion for the purpose of comedy is exactly what Saved! does. And the film does it very well. Dealing with homosexuality, teen pregnancy and obscenity in a Christian-controlled society, Saved! excels at its brand of lite-satrical humor. Jena Malone and Mandy Moore brilliantly carry the film and effectively bring their characters across the screen.

Saved! is a step ahead of the average high-school comedy, but the film is not without its flaws. The film plays into common stereotypes so often it nearly spoofs itself. But a strong supporting cast that features a disabled Macaulay Culkin keeps the film afloat.

Mary (Malone) and Hilary Faye (Moore) are two seniors at American Eagle Christian high school, but at the beginning things change between the two friends. When Mary’s boyfriend comes out of the closet, she takes matters into her own hands. Deciding that Jesus somehow wants her to help Dean through his “sin,” she gives up her virginity. The Christian girl finds herself with a baby in the oven and a gay father locked up in a Christian boarding school (used to help teens overcome the evil of the world). Meanwhile, Hilary Faye is busy ruling the school and converting the ungodly. Patrick (Patrick Fugit) joins American Eagle Christian and becomes the object of affection between Mary and Hilary. Soon after, Hilary sees her former best friend as a lost sheep who is in desperate need of discovering Jesus once more. Saved! humorously portrays a Christian society that views homosexuality as an illness and that everyone needs God in their lives, but they just don’t know it.

The DVD rounds up mostly the same from deleted scenes, bloopers, two audio commentaries and a Behind-the-Scenes featurette. The deleted scenes are mostly extended scenes that offer a few more chuckles but are rather slim on building upon the story. The first commentary is with director/co-writer Brian Dannelly, producer Sandy Stern and co-writer Michael Urban discussing the film and indulging audiences with the reasoning behind the film. The second commentary is shared with the film’s two female leads (Malone and Moore) but comes off rather annoying after listening to these women’s high-pitched laughs throughout the film. “Heaven Help Us” lets viewers see inside the production of the film and witness many of the behind-the-scene gags and mistakes that took place. Finishing off the disc is the film’s original theatrical trailer.

Saved! is quite simply a funny film that uses one of the world’s largest and most influential religions as its’ basis. Following Mean Girls, Saved! is a strong indication that teen flicks can be somewhat intelligent and funny at the same time.