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Originally published Friday, September 29, 2006 at 12:00 AM

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Movie Review

God is their quarterback

It's football season at the movies, a timely occurrence in the industry that has pumped fan interest with recent inspirational fare like "Invincible" and "Gridiron Gang." "Facing the Giants" gives inspiration an entirely different context with overt Christian ideology and the motivational message that all things are possible when God is on your side.

But for anyone not already keen on its point of view, "Facing the Giants" will probably be a turn-off. Those looking for an evening's diversion will find it an amateur exercise that has the feel of a film-school project.

Movie review 1 stars


Showtimes and trailer

"Facing the Giants," with Alex Kendrick, Shannen Fields, Chris Willis, Tracy Goode, Bailey Cave, Steve Williams, Jason McLeod, James Blackwell, Jim McBride. Directed by Alex Kendrick, from a script by Kendrick and Stephen Kendrick. 111 minutes. Rated PG for some thematic elements. Several theaters.

The biggest problem is that it's just plain boring. The focus is the head coach at a private Christian high school, who falls into despair after many losing seasons, a marriage laid low by issues of infertility and a looming ouster spearheaded by angry parents looking to give their kids a better shot at college sports scholarships.

Told in the workmanlike fashion of underdogs recovering their spirit through motivational homilies — and the power of faith-based revival — the story plods through bad times that in due course turn fantastic.

The difficulty is not just in the mechanics of narrative, but the mechanical work of cast and crew. The press notes boast of the all-volunteer army that brought the production to fruition, toplined by Alex Kendrick, the star, director, editor and co-writer (with his brother Stephen). Kendrick is pastor of a Baptist church in Georgia, and he recruited his congregation for this project that is clearly a labor of love. Unfortunately, none of them are very good actors.

— Ted Fry, Special to the Seattle Times

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