Salvation Boulevard: movie review

( Unrated ) ( Monitor Movie Guide )

In 'Salvation Boulevard,' a great cast can't save this misfiring satire about suburban Evangelicals.

Mark Preston/IFC Films/AP
Greg Kinnear is shown in a scene from the film 'Salvation Boulevard.'

Salvation Boulevard” has a terrific cast and not much else. Based on the novel by Larry Beinhart and directed and co-written by George Ratliff, it’s a misfired farce about Christian Evangelicals in Michigan. Farce is usually best, or the least sour, when the humor contains more affection than derision. “Salvation Boulevard” is nothing but cheap shots, inexpertly aimed.

Pierce Brosnan plays Dan Day, a celebrity pastor with his own loyal congregation and big plans to erect a sprawling prefab Christian community. Greg Kinnear is Carl, a dimwit parishioner and former irreligious Deadhead who first encountered Christianity while sneaking into the local church in search of a bathroom. His wife Gwen (Jennifer Connelly) is so religious she’s rabid.

When Pastor Dan accidentally shoots a local professor and celebrity atheist (Ed Harris), putting him into a coma, he tries to shift the blame onto Carl, who soon realizes he’s been hoodwinked.

Indeed he has been, along with the rest of the misused cast, including Maria Tomei and Ciaran Hinds, and, of course, anyone in the audience expecting a smart send-up.

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