They make movies with the flimsiest of premises these days.
There are films based on books, on comics (excuse me, I mean graphic novels), on true stories, on news events, and on video games. So I guess a film based on a dating website was inevitable.
If I had seen Christian Mingle in the theatre I would be lamenting the waste of money. Because I watched it on Netflix, I can only complain about the lost time.
Religious/Christian films are a longstanding film tradition. There are big bucks to be made catering to a Christian audience, so much so that mainstream Hollywood has jumped into the act in recent years, with major studios making or distributing films aimed at this niche market.
When I was a teenager, Christian films came in two varieties. There were those made by the Billy Graham organization, which were usually mediocre. Then there were the others, which were truly bad. Wooden acting, unintelligible scripts, poor cinematography and a sledgehammer message were the hallmarks of those pictures.
Hollywood can make an interesting film with a Christian theme, though it usually chooses not to. Field of Dreams comes immediately to my mind, not that that picture was intended to have a Christian message. (Biblical epics don’t count – though I understand Ben Hur is being remade.)
Christian Mingle is a dating website for Christians. The eponymous movie works on the premise of what would happen if someone, tired of the bar scene, would turn to the website to find the guy of her dreams. After all, Christian guys are all nice, right? She’s not a Christian, but how hard can it be to pretend? What could go wrong?
Having been married for 32 years, I have no first-hand experience with internet dating. I do have the impression though that the people on these sites are fairly normal, a cross section of society. We don’t all have movie-star looks, but everybody in this film does. Or maybe I just should have the prescription for my glasses checked. The good looking girl who can’t find a decent guy lands a hunk on her first attempt. That is if you like the clean-cut all-American look. They’ll have their ups and downs of course, but you know they will live happily ever after.
I felt like I was travelling through time, watching a 1960’s Christian film with better camera work. The acting was less than convincing, the script less than inspired. Clichés abound. I could forgive that sort of thing a lot easier of any part of the movie seemed the slightest bit believable. The film probably wouldn’t have seemed out of place 50 years ago – and back then they would have cast Rock Hudson and Doris Day in the lead roles.
I have seen films with powerful Christian messages that communicated the faith in a natural way. This movie and everything about it seems contrived. I hate to say that. I suppose that would be true for any film based on a dating website, Christian or otherwise.
I guess the politest way to describe Christian Mingle is to call it what it is: an extended commercial for a dating service. Too bad it is so unbelievable.