Kirk Cameron's Saving Christmas
Directed by Darren Doane. Starring Kirk Cameron, Darren Doane, Bridgette Cameron, Raphi Henly, Ben Kientz. (2014, PG, 80 min.)
REVIEWED By Kimberley Jones, Fri., Nov. 14, 2014
Essentially an extended Sunday sermon in which former teen heartthrob-turned-evangelical entrepreneur Kirk Cameron "Camsplains" the true meaning of Christmas, Saving Christmas will hold little interest for anyone not already a believer. It’s too single-minded in its instructional purpose, too averse to multidimensional characters, too youth-pastor-like in its dorky humor. But Saving Christmas isn’t looking to convert anyone or, blessedly, to scold anyone. It’s an unabashed preaching to the choir.
What it’s trying to do is explain to Christians how they may reconcile their faith with the secular pomp of Christmas, and it does so by having Cameron draw connections between the tree, the presents, and so on to Christian iconography and scripture. Presented mostly as two dudes (Cameron and writer/director Doane) in a car talking, the narrative is broken up by historical or Biblical reenactments, including a weirdly violent re-creation of the real-life St. Nick beating down an unbeliever – all the more bizarre when it’s followed shortly thereafter by a little pop-and-lock from the God Squad Dance Crew. Dramatically, this is not scintillating stuff; your average Lifetime Movie Network production boasts a far better grasp on what makes a story compelling, structurally and emotionally. As a movie, Saving Christmas is not good. But as a teaching aid for congregants about having their fruitcake and eating it, too? Sure, why not. Go nuts, guys.