Remember when we mentioned a while back that there was a movie called Christian Mingle coming out? Well, Christian Mingle, the online dating site, sent us a screeners’ copy of Christian Mingle the movie to preview before it hits theaters on Friday.
The CM community manager who emailed us also wanted to set the record straight: “We know that there’s been a little confusion surrounding the film—this is not a movie created by us. Actor Corbin Bernsen actually reached out to us for permission to use our name and likeness. Our team provided feedback on the movie throughout the filming/editing process.”
Warning: This review contains spoilers.
Here’s where it would be a good idea to confess a few things up front: We weren’t exactly thrilled about the movie to begin with. The idea of a non-Christian girl posing as a Christian on a “Christian” online dating site only furthered our already uncomfortable view of the site. One of the biggest complaints we hear from people is the lack of authentic Christians on Christian Mingle.
Then hearing that Christian Mingle didn’t create the movie but gave permission for Bernsen to use their name just affirmed the “any publicity is good publicity” mantra. It certainly did little to earn any additional favor from us towards the online dating site.
All of that to say, we went into this screening process with a lot of negativity, ready to take our red pen and tell you the million ways this movie sucks. But then we actually watched it.
And surprisingly, we thought it was pretty decent. Especially when you compare it to other Christian movies of late—movies that include bad acting, storylines, and filmmaking. It seems Christian Mingle the movie had an actual budget.
Bernsen appears at the beginning of the screening copy explaining that he’s made several faith-based films and wanted to do something a little different this time, something along the lines of Sleepless in Seattle and When Harry Met Sally. Christian Mingle was more along the lines of a Lifetime or Hallmark Channel movie instead of either of those classics, but we appreciated the effort.
There were holes in the storyline and it felt forced in lot of places. For starters, Paul, played by Jonathan Patrick Moore, was—as far as we knew—the first guy Gwyneth, played by Lacey Chabert, ever spoke to on the site. For anyone who’s ever spent time in the world of online dating, that’s pretty laughable. It’s most certainly the tales of Hollywood and not the norm.
Initially, we cringed at the thought of a girl coming to know Christ because she was falling for a guy who was a devout believer. Anyone who’s ever grown up in a youth group knows missionary dating is not okay, right? But, we got a little convicted when we realized we were saying that should never happen. We don’t know the mind of God, and there are always exceptions. Christian Mingle the movie did a good job of taking Gwyneth on a spiritual journey that might’ve begun with lying about her faith but ended in an authentic conversion experience.
Christians can get a little crazy when our people are represented on the big screen. We’ve got high standards for how we’re portrayed and we never think any movie gets it right. This movie did a good job of poking fun at Christian stereotypes—something we always appreciate. Paul came from a long line of preachers, and his family and friends were often over the top with their piety and Christianese. When forced to view the things Christians find normal through the eyes of a non-believer, it can be sobering. And oddly enough, it was in this movie.
In the end, we kept coming back to the idea that this would be a great Hallmark Channel movie if they allowed evangelical, speak-the-name-of-Jesus, move-to-the-mission-field kind of movies, but they don’t. We also think much of our initial bias against the movie wouldn’t have taken place if it hadn’t been named after Christian Mingle the site. It just seems like one more step towards the site trying to figure out what Christians want, but missing the mark yet again.
If you want to see the movie, it opens this weekend, but only in select cities such as Hattiesburg, Mississippi; Fishers, Indiana; Bethlehem, Pennsylvania; Independence, Missouri; Kent, Washington. Yeah, seriously. It does open in a few other larger cities like Nashville, Mobile, Atlanta, Phoenix, and Houston. We’re not sure why certain smaller cities made the cut while other major cities did not. You can find the full list here.
Guys, you’re probably not going to like Christian Mingle the movie unless you have an affinity for predictable romantic comedies where they live happily ever after. And just to further some gender stereotypes—nothing blows up, no one gets killed, and the world doesn’t end. But if any of those things were to happen, Gwyneth now knows Jesus, so her eternity is secure. (We couldn’t help ourselves. We’re done now.)
What are your thoughts? Do you think you’ll watch Christian Mingle the movie?