‘Saved!’ a teen comedy with a satirical twist

By Tracy Douglas

Mary Cummings (Jena Malone) is a high school senior who grew up in the church and is part of the “Christian Jewels,” a female worship band. Mandy Moore plays Hilary Faye, the leader of the “Jewels” and one of the more popular girls on campus. Macaulay Culkin is her brother, Roland.

The plot begins when Mary’s boyfriend, Dean (Chad Faust), tells her that he thinks he is gay. She knocks herself out when she hits her head on the pool ladder. While unconscious, she thinks she sees a vision of Jesus telling her to “save” Dean any way she can.

She interprets that to mean having sex with him, but her efforts end up not helping because his parents send him away when they find gay porn under his bed. Mary’s problems intensify when she finds out she is pregnant.

At one point she says, “Teen pregnancy is about as common in my school as the plague.” Maybe this explains why no one seems to have powers of observation. Instead of noticing her ever-expanding figure, Hilary and company decide Mary must be questioning her faith.

The only person that figures out Mary’s secret is Cassandra, a Jewish girl. Along with Roland, she helps Mary with her situation.

Director and co-writer Brian Dannelly has created more than a teen comedy – it’s also a satire on extreme evangelical Christians. He uses some aspects of the culture but takes them to the extreme.

At the back-to-school rally, principal Pastor Skip says, “Who’s down with G-O-D?” Throughout the movie, he tries way too hard to sound hip. Hilary and her friends stage an exorcism on Mary on Valentine’s Day after Pastor Skip asks them to help her.

“Mary, turn away from Satan. Jesus, he loves you,” Hilary says.

Mary responds that Hilary does not “know the first thing about love.” Hilary throws a Bible at Mary’s back, saying “I’m filled with Christ’s love.”

It’s the irony of that moment and many others that create the humor of Saved!

They play off on visions of anti-abortion protesters. Mary goes to Planned Parenthood to make sure the pregnancy test was right. Cassandra sees her and tells Roland, “There’s only one reason a Christian girl would go to Planned Parenthood.” Roland responds with “She’s planting a pipe bomb?!”

Like all teen comedies, it employs some romance. Patrick (Patrick Fugit) is the pastor’s son and likes Mary. He asks her out by saying “Do you wanna go out sometime? I’m like totally adorable.”

There is even a moral to the story at the end.

“It’s all too much to live up to. No one fits in 100 percent of the time … Why would God make us all so different if he wanted us to be the same?” Mary says.