Saved! Brian Dannelly

Saved! Brian Dannelly
In a delicious satire of these, our more worshipful times, Saved! takes the template of high school and sets it in the God-centric world of the Christian high school, where your allegiance to Jesus and the vigour with which you express it is the fast track to the cool group. In this case, the chief "Heather" in question is a wolf in blouse and kilt named Hilary Faye (goody-two-shoes Mandy Moore, in a moment of great casting), who rules the school with her devout belief and the iron fist of cliquey cool that is her right, at least from grades nine through 12.

Disrupting this mix is Mary (Jena Malone), who tries to keep on the path to righteousness by giving up her virginity to her potentially-gay boyfriend in order to save the last vestiges of his heterosexuality. It doesn't work, but Mary finds herself a pregnant teen in a most unforgiving environment. She gets an assist from "Jewess" Cassandra (Eva Amurri), who's landed in this foreign world of Christ after having been kicked out of all her other schools. Added to the mix is Hilary Faye's wheelchair-bound brother (Macaulay Culkin), who hooks up with Cassandra, if only to get away from his sister. Also included in this mix of hormones and guilt is a hipster preacher (Martin Donovan), who treats his students like a street team for Christ, and Mary's clueless mom (Mary-Louise Parker), who's hot for preacher.

Good teen comedies — the ones at least as interested in skewering the genre's tropes as recreating them — all follow similar lines: the "accepted" ones end up the subject of ridicule, while the more "real" nerds, geeks or outcasts finally get their moment, if not in the sun at least of temporary reprieve. The fact that so many of the requisite jokes along the way surround the occasionally ridiculous antics of the Christian community only makes it a little more deliciously blasphemous. (MGM)