“Believe Me” (2014)
Sam (Alex Russell) seems to have the world by its tail. He is a graduating senior in college, about to go to law school. He is president of his fraternity and has three great friends in Pierce (Miles Fisher), Baker (Max Adler) and Tyler (Sinqua Walls). He soon discovers that his world isn’t as sure as he thought. It turns out that before he can start on his law studies, he must pay the college almost ten thousand dollars. It’s ten thousand dollars he doesn’t have.READ MORE: John Travolta Pays Tribute
To take his mind off of his troubles, Pierce invites him on a double date to a church event. There he discovers that a classmate has raised over $16,000 in just a few days for a church trip. Inspired by how quickly it was raised and how weak the accountability is, he decides that he and his “boys” should create a fake charity for which to raise funds. Their campus fundraiser is so successful, it gets the attention of a Christian events promoter (Christopher McDonald). He tells the boys, that they are just what he needs to fill out his touring show as it goes across America. The guys sign up almost immediately; although it doesn’t hurt that Sam is instantly attracted to the tour manager, Callie (Johanna Braddy). Can the “God Squad” fool enough people to be successful without the boys giving up their souls or getting caught?
“Believe Me” is a faith-based film that can’t quite make up its mind on whether it’s a comedy or drama, never succeeding in either. There are a few funny moments in a film that need to be much more entertaining. There is a humorous sequence where the boys are trying to teach other how to fit in with their church-going counterparts, learning the proper technique of raising their hands to the sky during powerful religious moments. However, those moments are few and far between. The biggest problem with this film is that you don’t like these guys. They are in it for themselves, making money off of naive churchgoers who are giving to the fake charity out of the kindness of their hearts. Only Tyler seems to have any conscience, as he is not willing to preach to the masses but only work behind the scenes. Sam, the main protagonist in the story is willing to tell anyone what they want to hear, even when he deals with Callie, someone who fully believes in his fake mission to build clean water wells in Africa. There isn’t much character growth in the guys, as they continue to deceive people throughout the film.
I did like the cast in the film. Alex Russell has the right amount of charisma and bravado to play the part of the bold Sam. He has a nice chemistry with Johanna Braddy as the gullible Callie. Braddy has the girl next door quality about her that makes us like her character from the start. Max Adler, playing the goofy Barker and Miles Fisher as the smooth operating Pierce, do an admirable job in very one-dimensional characters. Sinqua Wells as Tyler stands out as the voice of reason; making us wish more of the characters in this film had some of Tyler’s qualities.
Unfortunately, Nick Offerman makes a way too brief appearance in the film; as a college administrator who gives Sam the bad news about his debt to the university.READ MORE: Serena Williams Announces She Will 'Evolve Away From Tennis'
“Believe Me” is an earnest attempt at a faith-based buddy film that fails on most levels. It’s not funny enough to be a comedy, and it doesn’t work as a drama since the characters never move forward. Instead of some sort of major resolution to the story, it limps to a very ambiguous ending, one that leaves you extremely disappointed in both the main characters and the filmmakers themselves. My Rating: Cable
My movie rating system from Best to Worst: 1). I Would Pay to See it Again 2). Full Price 3). Bargain Matinee 4). Cable 5). You Would Have to Pay Me to See it Again
“Believe Me” is currently playing in Atlanta area theatres.
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