FIREPROOF (*1/2) - Starring Kirk Cameron and Erin Bethea.
Directed by Alex Kendrick.
I thought this might be good. Posititve message, sleeper hit, made more money than three of the five Best Picture nominees (I know, so did Friday the 13th, but still...) I was hoping I could capture that middle-America vibe that made this a word-of-mouth success.
But the first thing that slapped me awake was the reaffirmation of the opinion I developed when watching Like Father Like Son in 1987: Kirk Cameron is a terrible actor. And since he's the star in this, all the other amateur actors aren't any better. Not that he's done favors by the dialogue. Any of it. Ever.
Sample dialogue during an argument: "You disrespectful, ungrateful, selfish woman!" or "You never assume I can do anything honorable!" Could his former Growing Pains co-star Leonardo DiCaprio salvage these lines? It'd be tough.
He and the rest of the cast engage in every high-school acting bad-habit under the sun. Several times when someone says "I" or "me" they then point to themselves. Who really does that? When a thought can be conveyed with a glance, it's not just a glance but an eyebrow raise, furrow, wink and eye-bug. And then we get two lines of dialogue over what the glance was about.
So with everything delivered heavy-handed and underlined three times, it feels like the dramatic re-enactment of a 100-minute infomercial for an evangelical self-help book. And maybe for those who don't care about acting or writing or subtlety, they'll get fulfillment out of it.