The Love Dare
Caleb Holt (Kirk Cameron) is a fire-fighter and a heroic one at that who is dedicated to his job at the Albany Fire Department. The trouble is that his dedication to fighting fires and saving lives has come at a cost as his marriage to his wife Catherine (Erin Bethea) is on a steep decline as all they ever do is argue especially the fact that Caleb is sticking away a third of his wage every month towards a boat. That is until Caleb's father steps in and insists he does "The Love Dare" a Christian based 40 day guide to saving a broken marriage. Initially reluctant especially when nothing seems to get better Caleb after doing some of the stuff his father shows him what the answer is, God and the way he loves us.
Sometimes I feel a bit like a broken record when it comes to movies which come under the Christian cinema label as there are two types; those made as clean, faith re-affirming entertainment for those who are already Christians and then there are those which are evangelical, which try to deliver mainstream entertainment but with a subtle Christian message going on. And there is nothing wrong with that as long as you keep in mind which sort of Christian movie you are watching.
That brings me to "Fireproof" which is Christian cinema for an already Christian audience because this is one of those movies which despite being about a couple on the verge of divorce is peachy clean. No swearing, no violence and everyone is polite to each other which frankly doesn't ring true to the real world. That isn't me saying that I disliked this clean world presented to us, just that life is not the way it is shown in this movie and that makes this movie the sort of movie which is going to struggle a little to get non Christian's committed to sticking with it.
But then this actually annoys me because it gives the movie a mixed tone which initially doesn't work as it seems to be drama and then tries to be comedy whilst having that awkward unrealistic world things going on as well. And it really annoys me because when we get to Caleb trying to do "The Love Dare" it starts to find a comedy/drama vibe which works remarkably well as he tries to be the nice guy but gets nothing back for all his efforts. And this leads to a nice Christian message which isn't overly preachy or heavy but not hidden away.
Now I know this review is a bit jumbled yet ironically that is how "Fireproof" comes across, as if it isn't sure what it wants to be. There are times it feels like a drama then in a blink of an eye it becomes a comedy. Then there is the acting which in some places is fantastic and a lot better than you normally see from a Christian movie with Ken Bevel really standing out as a natural but then there are moments when others act either over the top or awkward which sadly is what you expect from a Christian movie.
What this all boils down to is that "Fireproof" left me floating because there are elements to it which border on the great with some remarkably good action scenes but then there are elements which drag it right back to what it is which is Christian cinema and in particular cinema for those who are already Christians.