Faith-based films have a tough line to walk. A heavy hand with the message can leave them preaching to the converted, but too little faith might anger those most likely to part with their money to see them.
The gently comedic The Resurrection of Gavin Stone does a fine job of nimbly negotiating this tightrope. Much of the credit goes to the cast, especially Brett Dalton ( Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.), who has the timing and appeal of a young Eric McCormack from Will & Grace.
He plays Stone, a washed-up former child star who lives his life in a haze of rehab and relapse. After getting busted in Chicago, he’s allowed to do his community service in his small Illinois hometown, a place he has avoided since having a falling out with his dad (Neil Flynn) many years prior.
Of course, his assignment is in a church where he’s supposed to be doing mopping and maintenance. But they just happen to be putting on a no-budget play about the life of Jesus that sure could use his touch of Hollywood professionalism. Bonus: The pastor’s daughter (Anjelah Johnson-Reyes) is attractive.
Directed by Dallas Jenkins from a script by Andrea Gyertson Nasfell, Gavin Stone goes exactly where it’s expected. But it has a genial and good-natured time getting there.