It’s a faith-based film that’s a comedy and produced by WWE Studios. Rating: 2 stars out of 4.
Here are three descriptors for a movie that you thought you’d never see placed together: “faith-based,” “comedy” and “produced by WWE Studios.” Somehow, “The Resurrection of Gavin Stone” fits all three.
It’s the story of a washed-up, hard-partying former child star, Gavin Stone (Brett Dalton), who finds redemption at a church in his small hometown. He initially shows up to perform some court-mandated community-service hours, and sticks around to participate in a church play, playing Jesus Christ himself. Turns out that all that getting into character can’t help but rub off on him.
Movie Review ★★
‘The Resurrection of Gavin Stone,’ with Brett Dalton, Anjelah Johnson-Reyes, Shawn Michaels. Directed by Dallas Jenkins, from a screenplay by Andrea Gyertson Nasfell. 92 minutes. Rated PG for thematic elements including a crucifixion image. Several theaters.
Anjelah Johnson-Reyes plays the pastor’s daughter, the director of the play. She’s kept on a short leash as the uptight Kelly, an immovable force on whom Gavin attempts to use his charm.
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The WWE connection comes in the presence of Hall of Famer Shawn Michaels, aka The Heartbreak Kid, a practicing Christian himself, who turns in a supporting performance as churchgoing tough-guy Doug.
As for the comic element: Technically it’s a comedy, but laugh-out-loud this is not. It’s much lighter than most faith-based films, and it isn’t afraid to poke some fun at cultural stereotypes, including its own.
What makes “The Resurrection of Gavin Stone” singular is its fresh and thoroughly modern approach to evangelical Christianity. It’s a sunny, positive portrayal that skirts any of the negative issues that could be associated with the religion, positioning it as a welcoming, forgiving community for anyone and everyone. It’s certainly a portrayal we haven’t often seen before, and marks a new direction for films targeted at that audience.