I was enjoying previews of long awaited Fall dramas when up popped what appeared to be a teaser for the 70's TV show Emergency. It turned out to be trailer for the low budget independent film, "Fireproof" about a firefighter who is a hero to everyone but his own wife. His father explains, "You can't give her what you don't have." His friend suggests, "You gotta beg God to teach you how to be a good husband." The next shot is a man bowed in prayer. There was an audible GASP in the theater. As a society, have we become more comfortable with sex and violence portrayed on the big screen than religion? Maybe we just don't want to be preached at in the movie theater.
This is an openly Christian movie. Two recent Christian movies, "Bella" and "Noelle," were more subtle about their Christian motives - perhaps in an attempt to get non-believers into the theater before imparting the Christian theme. I admired these two films because their non-judgemental message came out of the action. In "Fireproof," the message comes out of the action and preachy speeches - even referencing bible verses. Dad comes off more like a benevolent pastor than a concerned parent. (Oh, he was played by Pastor Malcom. That explains it.)
When Caleb (Kirk Cameron) announces that he is getting a divorce, his father challenges him to wait 40 days to perform a "love dare" by following assignments his father has jotted down. This is similar to the device used in the "Bucket List" but it actually works much better here. At first Caleb does the least he can do. His heart isn't in it. His firefighter friend suggests, "You don't just follow your heart. You lead your heart." Skilled actor Ken Bevel does an admirable job spouting some pretty corny firefighting inspired figures-of-speech.
I liked entering the world of firefighters and getting a glimpse at what it's like to come so close to losing your life. Witnessing this side of Caleb's life allows the audience to like him after the unsympathetic way he treats his wife. Unfortunately, their fights come across as somewhat cliched and stilted. This is partially do to some amateurish acting and partially because many of us have heard these angry words come out of our own mouths.
One of the reason's that I went to this film was to learn how to make my marriage stronger. The "Love Dare" has some really good ideas on how to "fireproof your marriage." (One of those corny figures of speech.) And the film inspires you to make the effort.
Despite some stilted acting, corny dialogue, and preachy speeches, I was genuinely moved by "Fireproof." I related to the characters' struggle. I would definitely recommend it to a couple who was having problems with their marriage. Well, as long as their spouse isn't a die hard atheist - like mine.
To view the trailer, visit:http://www.fireproofthemovie.com/