Praise This!

Where I Watched it?: Peacock

English Audio Description?: Yes

One of my nostalgia comfort films is Sister Act 2, where lauryn Hill learns important life lessons about coulda, woulda, shoulda’s. It still has the best version of his eye is On The Sparrow in cinema, in my opinion, and that Joyful joyful finale is iconic. Trust me, it is. Especially if you did choir in your school in the 90’s. You probably sang that same arrangement. If not, your life was incomplete and I’m sorry for that.

Praise This is like a consolation prize for everyone who has seen something better than it before. It’s a little bit like Sister Act, in that our main lead is a young lady (Chloe Bailey) who is being sent to live with family so she can learn how to behave. And by that, I mean go to church. If you have to send your child to another state to go to church, you should probably rethink your own life choices. Churches are everywhere, not just in the Deep South.

But, luckily for her, she’s got the most cloying cousin, and a church that is quite accepting of just about anything. She also has a killer voice, which helps propel her, and the church’s group forward in singing competitions.

That’s where this becomes a little like Bring It on, as there’s a rivalry here, and a cutthroat nature that shows up in the oddest of places. Essentially, these are church praise and worship teams that are doing competitions and throwing shade at each other. This is also where religion has gone horribly wrong. These groups are trying to sing contemporary Christian music, and the film likes to cut to elderly black ladies in the audience heckling these groups. Is this a Christian movie? What is the message here? What is going on?

This feels like a studio film that wants to try and appeal to a Christian audience, but doesn’t want to be labeled as a Christian film, so it tries to make itself a bit edgier. It doesn’t always work, but at least it has some great music.

I always try to grade the movie for what it is and what it’s trying to accomplish versus films like it. I don’t just put everything up against Citizen Kane and immediately set up things to fail. Of course this isn’t a cinematic classic. it couldn’t even land a theatrical release. It’s a consolation prize for Chloe, whose sister gets to be Ariel this month, and closes out the year in the cast of The Color Purple movie. But, it showcases her strong vocals, and that personality we grew to love on Grown-ish. The music here is good, the story and general plot is fine, it just gets lost when it starts getting catty while also trying to take a religious high road.

That behavior worked in a film like Bring it on, where high school cheerleaders competed against each other. Here, it’s painful to watch a bunch of bible thumpers at each others throats like God only lets the winning worship team into Heaven.

The audio description here is fine, but it has to navigate around quite a bit of music. It’s not a musical in the traditional sense, but there’s a lot of singing within the film. Chloe’s character wants to make it as a singer, and the film also has moments of her trying to do some solo stuff.

I liked it because I liked the music, and i liked Chloe. But, as a Christian film, I’m not sure it wants to be labeled that. In many ways, it is very unflattering of self righteous people who say one thing, and do another.

Praise This? Maybe a little.

Final Grade: B-

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