Okay, so with the release of Moms’ Night Out and the less-viewed, Blue Like Jazz from a couple of years ago, we now know that Christians can be funny. For some of us, the arrival of the Christian comedy film is an answer to prayer. Until recently, faith-based films have had a reputation of being Hollywood’s ugly stepsister. Numerous times this title has not been deserved and even now critics are leery of giving out too many compliments on faith-based films. Still, the “year of the Christian film” marches on. More studios are presenting stories hoping to grab an audience and share the gospel if possible including Believe Me which will arrive in theaters this fall.
Riot Studios, a fairly new film company known for two documentaries, Beware of Christians and One Nation Under God, will present its first comedy, Believe Me on September 26. Described as “not your father’s ‘Christian’ film,” Believe Me centers on four college friends who come up with a scheme of creating a fake charity. Believing that Christians are suckers for any charity, they prey upon the church. A story that may be “too close to home” for some people.
Believe Me stars Alex Russell (Chronicle), Zach Knighton (Happy Endings), Johanna Braddy (Easy A), Miles Fisher (Final Destination 5), Sinqua Walls (TV’s Teen Wolf) and Max Adler (Glee), Nick Offerman (Parks and Recreation) and Christopher McDonald (Boardwalk Empire). Grammy Award-winning rapper LeCrae makes his acting debut here as well.
The mission statement for Riot Studios says that their company “exists to tell stories that compel viewers to challenge their beliefs, weigh the alternatives, and laugh while doing so. They aspire to make transparent and thoughtful art through film.” A worthy goal indeed. Still, some are already skeptical of this new project including Charisma News who wonders aloud what the studio’s “agenda” might be in a story published this week. The article refers to the film as a “secular movie” and asks readers if they think the film will help or hinder the church. Take a short glance at the comments section and you’ll see that Christians are already boarding the bandwagon against this film, judging the film and its motives before it even comes out.
Riot answered the “why” July 15 of last year on the company’s blog stating, “Both of our documentaries, Beware of Christians and One Nation Under God, are explicitly Christian. The reason being? They’re films about us – about us trying to find answers to life’s biggest questions while trekking around Europe and the U.S. seeking truth from outside our customary social circles. Jesus is central to who we are as people: that’s our truth, and it’s what helps us make sense of this life.”
“Believe Me is a parody on religious scandals,” says co-producer and co-writer Michael B. Allen in a recent press release. “It holds up a mirror for viewers to see themselves and their assumptions from a new perspective.”
It will be interesting to see if believers will be willing to do just that in September. Will we be able to laugh at ourselves? Stay tuned. Until then, watch the trailer here or pre-order tickets here.