Facing the Giants
Directed by Alex Kendrick, Stephen Kendrick. Starring Alex Kendrick, Shannen Fields, Tracy Goode, Bailey Cave, Jason McLeod, Steve Williams, James Blackwell. (2006, PG, 111 min.)
REVIEWED By Josh Rosenblatt, Fri., Nov. 17, 2006
Like a modern-day Job, Grant Taylor (Kendrick) – high school football coach, loyal husband, and all-around shlemazl – just can’t seem to catch a break. His team, the Shiloh Baptist Academy Eagles, is incapable of winning; he doesn’t have the money to fix his car; and, to top things off, he’s infertile, which is the cause of much weeping and wailing around the Taylor home. But, like they say, with God all things are possible, and once Taylor opens his heart to Jesus, all it takes is a little late-night Bible study, a few thoughtful walks through gauzy pastures, and a couple of well-placed prayers, and – presto! – he’s got a winning football team, a brand-new truck, and sperm of incomparable potency. Plus his weary spirit is infused with the unquestioning single-mindedness and bottomless self-satisfaction of the newly converted, which means he’s going to spread the good news to everyone he can – his team, his wife, even his rabbi. Soon, everyone in the movie has been born again, and Taylor’s lowly Eagles are riding the revival wave all the way to the state finals. Facing the Giants makes no secret of its evangelical agenda – it was funded by Sherwood Baptist Church in Albany, Ga., and directed by two of the church’s associate pastors – but its feel-good storyline, shopworn message, and bottomless sermonizing would have played better in Sunday school than on the big screen, which is – let’s face it – Babylon’s turf.