The Love Dare
Caleb Holt (Kirk Cameron - Left Behind: World at War) 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 - Facing the Giants), is in trouble as all they ever do is argue, especially over 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 practising unconditional love which could save his broken marriage. Initially reluctant, especially when nothing seems to get better, Caleb's 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 in "Fireproof", just that life is not the way it is shown and that makes this Christian drama the sort of movie which is going to struggle a little to get non Christian's committed to sticking with it.
It is actually annoying because it contributes to giving "Fireproof" a mixed tone which initially doesn't work as it seems to start off as drama and then tries to become a 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 finds the right comedy/drama vibe which works remarkably well as he tries to be the nice guy but gets nothing back for all his efforts. It just means you have to get through the awkward first part to get to where it finds the right tone and that is when it leads you pleasantly to a nice Christian message which isn't overly preachy or heavy but not hidden away.
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 whilst unsurprisingly having a good message. But then there are elements which drag it right back to what some mock Christian Cinema for and in having those elements making it less of an evangelical piece of entertainment but a faith reaffirming movie for those already Christians.