Janet W., Here…
Where does your hope lie? In mankind? The government? Your possessions? Your faith? What motivates a person to do something, give their time or money, or fight for what they want? Believe Me explores these questions through the hilarious antics of a quartet of college boys.
Sam (Alex Russell) is a senior in college applying for graduation. In his drunken advisor’s (Nick Offerman) office, he receives a wake up call, a $9,000+ wake up call that will keep him from graduating. How does he decide to pay? Well, what do you get when you have 4 frat guys and large debt to pay? The light bulb appears above Sam’s head while in a church service. Missions fundraising. He doesn’t believe in God or in helping the country/people, but he knows how to get money and who from…Christians. Why Christians? Because Christians want to help people? No. In Sam’s mind, it’s because “…they [Christians] want to feel like they are helping people.”
Sam devises a scheme with his fraternity brothers Pierce (Miles Fisher), Tyler (Sinqua Walls), and Baker (Max Adler) to raise funds (which they plan to steal) to fund wells in Africa. Project “Get Wells Soon.” Their first event went fine, too, just not as much money as they had hoped. Ken (Christopher McDonald), the CEO of Cross Country, a touring Christian fundraising organization, approaches the boys. The company has a strict 100% donation to the cause rule; does this stop the boys’ embezzling plan? Oh no, they decide to step up their game and study their prey. Sam proceeds to dissect the Christian lifestyle. What does a Christian say and don’t say? How do they worship? Wait until you see the “Gecko,” the “Straightjacket,” the “Casual Five,” and the “Shawshank.” Would you wear Cross-dressing? Let the games begin.
I first saw Alex Russell in Chronicle. He was the attractive older friend with a good head on his shoulders and a big heart to match. He’s a BIT different in Believe Me. He’s like a creature that is backed into a corner, doing whatever it takes to stay alive. Sam is the same way except greed is the appetite he is trying sate at least in the beginning. It took a while, but I remembered where I saw Miles Fisher, the super, intentionally cheesy Superhero Movie. His imitation of Tom Cruise was spot on. His character in Believe Me, Pierce, has the same elitist attitude with smart mouthed retort. For example, “…my parents loved me so they decided not to be poor.”
Believe Me is a good film. The cinematography is visually cool. From the opening with the title shot, the word “lie” flashes out of Believe. The use of slow motion turns beer into shimmering streamers at a party and faces into surreal Play Doh images. At first, the plot can seem intent on offending Christians. However, I think it pokes fun at the actions of “church people” copied from actions originally done by people who believe. Believe Me is honest about the progression of the “Christian” lifestyle. Within the film’s confines, there is a message and I sincerely hope it is not lost in the mockery. Don’t miss the forest for the trees. Even as a Christian who truly believes in the Lord, I enjoyed Believe Me and laughed often. Not because of the mocking of Christian lifestyle, but because I have a sense of humor. Unfortunately, it is in limited release. So, hurry, two weeks at Highland Park Village Theater and a short stint at Grapevine AMC.
4 out of 5 Stars
– Janet L. White