Published Nov 01, 2005I had hoped, after my own traumatic entanglements with Sunday School, that I would never have to hear a chirpy pop tune repeating the words "God is Great" ever again. But there are elements in the Holy Land every bit as lame as those in the Lutheran Church, and so I have been offered up as sacrifice to the feeble-minded gods of Ushpizin.
The religious fairy tale deals with an ultra-Orthodox Jew with a shady back ground who's trying to put on a good show for the Succoth holiday. Prayer has resulted in a $1,000 windfall and now all he needs are some guests for a temporary dwelling erected to commemorate the Exodus. Alas, his wishes are granted in the form of a couple of ex-cons from his rough past. Mockery of the holiday ensues, plans are upended, and our hero's wife finally decides to split will a little prayer smooth things over?
If you can't figure out the answer to that little query, you've never been in a religious institution in your life. And yet, I can't imagine the intelligently religious taking much comfort in this chick pamphlet of a movie even believers know you don't automatically get miracles for being really, really pious and that sometimes you're left to your own devices. But the hero is such an oblivious schmuck that he needs all the miracles he can get, with as much support from the mindless devotional tunes that grace the soundtrack.
The movie is a trial that childishly distorts the positive things that religion really does and is consequently guaranteed to please nobody but the most uncritical true believers. (Alliance Atlantis)