Salvation Boulevard - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Salvation Boulevard Reviews

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MANUGINO
Super Reviewer
October 12, 2012
For Carl, salvation turned out to be a tight squeeze!

Good weird easily offending movie! The story of a preacher gone bad, a dead head turned believer, and a cast of character actors that are very well cast. It's a slapstick of a film, but we live in a world where that isn't enough. Great funny lines, incredibly fun acting. If you are looking for a fun night and need a video, this is it. I have to imagine this film might be more successful over time, and as people discover it. If you are a born again Christian, this might not be your cup of tea.

Set in the world of mega-churches in which a former Deadhead-turned-born again-Christian finds himself on the run from fundamentalist members of his mega-church who will do anything to protect their larger-than-life pastor.
Harlequin68
Super Reviewer
½ November 27, 2013
"Salvation Boulevard" starts with a debate between noted atheist intellectual Peter Blaylock(Ed Harris) and Pastor Dan Day(Pierce Brosnan) of the Third Millennium Church. After the show, Peter and Dan have a drink in Peter's office where Dan accidentally shoots Peter with an antique gun, which is witnessed by Carl(Greg Kinnear), one of Dan's followers. While Dan seeks to cover it up before having a terrible experience watching a Tom Cruise movie, Carl tries to do the right thing which leads Jerry(Jim Gaffigan) to try to go old testament on him.

"Salvation Boulevard" is a frustrating near miss that a game cast does what it can with sketchily drawn characters but to no avail. Evangelical religion is such low hanging fruit these days that one has to really work at it to have something new to say, and a multiplex showing religious films will just not cut it. And you know you're in trouble when the best laugh of the entire movie and perhaps the only true one comes in the endnotes.
SC007
Super Reviewer
½ April 2, 2013
The film was a bit of a mess. They had a good idea for a film but didn't execute it correctly. The film needed a rewrite. I felt some of the actors were miscast, like Greg Kinnear.
DrStrangeblog
Super Reviewer
½ January 24, 2013
Consensus seems to be "Great cast, not much else." I disagree! With the second part, that is.

I don't think audiences (and critics) missed the point, but I think they might have been in the wrong frame of mind. It's a dark comedy that finds its humor in the situations rather than sight gags. I wasn't laughing outwardly very often but I was grinning inwardly as ex-Deadhead Carl (Greg Kinnear) witnesses his personal savior, popular pastor Dan Day (Pierce Brosnan), accidentally shoot his intellectual rival Dr. Paul Blaylock (Ed Harris) and then attempt to cover it up as a suicide. Brosnan gives his finest performance I've seen as the charismatic church leader who convinces himself that the shooting is all part of God's plan and takes measures to ensure that no one learns the truth.

Supporting ladies Marisa Tomei and Jennifer Connelly are a lot of fun. Tomei is Honey, a former Deadhead-turned-campus security guard who has a kinship with Carl and becomes his confidant when his devout family cannot believe his story. That resistance is led by Connelly who once again does great work as Carl's wife by playing her as a straight arrow - she isn't playing for laughs but gets them anyway where designed (particularly the scene where she meets Honey on the roadside and has to be restrained by the police). I would really like to see how she performs in a broader comedic role, which is a field she has not really ventured into. Food for thought, Jen.

The script contains some sharp observations about religion, and it's not just about taking potshots either. The opening scene between Dan and Paul presents a fascinating 5 minutes, I could've watched them debate the presence or absence of God for a whole hour. So an excellent cast, quality script, and funny story amounts to a dark comedy horse that might surprise you. Have a little faith!
January 18, 2014
So glad I watched the film before reading the reviews. Especially touching was the bewilderment that a lost soul trying to find some path (Greg Kinnear) when faced with hypocrisy, corruption and outright lies. It was refreshing to find a charismatic preacher (Pierce Brosnan) who actually seems to believe what he says, or has nearly convinced himself. The rest of the cast deserved more fully developed characters, with that this might have been a truly exceptional comedy.
January 12, 2014
A funny, but less than hilarious, satire of evangelical religious leaders and their megachurch followers. An excellent cast all do a fine job in their roles but perhaps the targets of the humor are simply too easy for it to be as funny as I would have hoped. Not great but enjoyable.
½ January 7, 2013
While not filled with as many laughs as it boasts, Salvation Boulevard is a superb dark comedy where everything just goes wrong.
½ October 28, 2012
A funny look at the depths religious leaders will go to use there "message" as justification and means to get away with anything. Greg Kinnear was amazing. He is like a cartoon with his facial expression.

2011 Movies: 5
½ January 17, 2012
This could have been so good. It really could have. Funny premise, great ensemble cast, all that good stuff. But for some reason, this still falls short. Like I said, the premise is hilarious. The mega-church aspect of society is a really interesting one to explore, and this movie does do a good job of poking fun, while walking the fine line of not truly offending anyone. As mentioned, this is an impressive gathering of actors. Here's the thing; individually, they are all great. Greg Kinnear as the bumbling middle aged born again Christian, Jennifer Connelley as his wife, an ultra Christian. (the part where she said she had a sword, the sword of the spirit, I died.) Pierce Brosnan as the pastor, they were great. But, Jim Gaffigan and Marisa Tomei' characters, although funny in their own right, really, for me, were not needed in the story at all. Basically, this ensemble never really fit together, like they were all puzzle pieces from different puzzles. Then, after awhile, the characters just start to become really annoying. Lastly, it didn't know when and where to end. It just kept spiraling downward, and never really bottomed out, it just kind of stopped. Oh well. In the end, I just wish it could have been better.
August 29, 2012
A sharp-tongued religious mystery that loses it's bite after about twenty minutes. Kinnear and Brosnan lead a very capable cast that is led astray by a very average script that had so much more potential. The best performance is Jennifer Connelly who plays an erratic, blinded and misguided sheep in Pastor Dan's flock. Also, the film takes Ed Harris' character out of the mix way too early, as he would have made for a better antagonist. The film loses it's satire once the mystery gets under way and the rest of the film just falls in line with a series of shoddy cover-up plans. The film never gets as dark as one might like, nor as light as one might like- in regards to a such a heavy topic like religion. Despite it's few moments of humor and clarity, "Salvation Boulevard" ultimately drags it's feet too much to truly make a statement. In no way is this an unlikable film, but the average moviegoer may want to take a detour. Reviewed 9/22/12. Rated 2.25 out 5.
September 23, 2012
Starts out strong and goes wrong as soon as the the plot kicks in. I dug Brosnan as the preacher, Tomei as the pothead, and Kinnear as a bland guy thrown into danger. There's amusing scenes along the way, especially Brosnan's encounter with the Mexican toward the end. But it never builds to anything because the underlying plot is handled as predictably as possible, and the Christian satire is 10 years out of date. If only the movie promised in the opening 10 minutes had been made.
½ December 4, 2011
Somewhat decent movie with some twisted and turns about religion and satire. The problem is that the twists and turns are predictable and the film is not very believable. It could have been much better than it was. Sort of worth a watch but not really.
½ August 15, 2011
Some viewers will find Salvation Boulevard's over the top characterizations of delusional religious fanatics to be in poor taste, over viewers will be in for some laughs.

Salvation Boulevard is a star packed ensemble "dramedy" based loosely on Larry Beinhart's novel of the same title. Greg Kinnear plays Carl, a former "deadhead" (followers of the band Grateful Dead) who has settled into a nice quite life with his uptight and super religious wife Gwen, played by Jennifer Connelly. Gwen religiously attends the Church of the Third Millennium which is led by the charismatic Pastor Dan Day, played by Pierce Brosnan. Having enraptured the town with his holy message, Day sustains a small empire for himself made out of an adoring congregation that worships him like a prophet. With an ego of the size of Jesus' cross, Day aspires to build a "city upon a hill", a planned and private community, complete with a school and hospital. Not only will this provide a safe and convenient sanctuary for God's worshipers but as the chief developer of this colossal undertaking Day stands to make a healthy sum of money.

However, the meeting of renown atheist extraordinaire Dr. Paul Blaylock, played by Ed Harris, puts it all at risk. After a public philosophical debate, Blaylock and Pastor Day retire to Blaylock's office for a friendly nightcap. Carl tags along to the meeting as Day's newly evangelized prize. Here a genial discussion about a joint book venture turns awry when Day accidentally shoots Blaylock in the head with an antique pistol.

In a moment of panic, the Pastor disguises the incident as a suicide attempt with Carl in the room as seemingly the only witness to Day's deceit. Carl's life then spirals into disaster as not only do his wife and closest friends not believe his truthful story but there are others trying to kidnap and frame him.

Salvation Boulevard's story line has a similar feel to that of the Coen Brother's film The Big Lebowski [1998]. Like "the Dude" in The Big Lebowski, Carl plays a very passive protagonist who gets caught up in mortal danger through no fault of his own. He is seemingly moved from precarious situation to the next by all forces other than himself. Carl passivity is contrasted by the outrageous antics of the characters that surround him. Pierce Brosnan with his good looks, deep voice and smooth command of language personifies an excellent slimy and manipulative pastor. As Day's ego and paranoia grow throughout the film so does Brosnan's comedic affect as he literally starts to believe the devil is after him.

With such a wealth of idiosyncratic characters Salvation Boulevard was able to attract a large award winning cast, including Marisa Tomei who plays a free spirited security guard. Jennifer Connelly and Jim Gaffigan play Day's fanatical and easily persuaded followers. Some would say these characters are a cruel misrepresentation of the Evangelical community. They may have a point, but taking this comedic movie too personally deprives the viewer from finding all the comical religious Easter eggs in the film. One of which is a building with devilish horns on the roof where Carl is taken to by Day's zealots. The laughs in Salvation Boulevard are not gut busters but are subtlety sprinkled throughout the film.

On the down, this film has a less than satisfying ending and seems to end abruptly. The side characters don't get endings that are worthy over their performances. Instead they are given in the form of text. An extra ten minutes might have wrapped the film in a more imprinting manner. Salvation Boulevard is layered with jokes that lie not only in th dialogue and action but also in the art direction and cinematography, giving the film the rare quality of finding something new every time you watch it. Unfortunately, this film will probably go under appreciated as critics have slammed it for its obvious slant against Evangelical Christians. However, I have faith that in time Salvation Boulevard will find its audience, but they probably won't be as devoted as your average "deadhead".

7 out of 10

This Film is not for:
-People who don't find mocking religion funny
-People who have no interest in religion
January 18, 2014
So glad I watched the film before reading the reviews. Especially touching was the bewilderment that a lost soul trying to find some path (Greg Kinnear) when faced with hypocrisy, corruption and outright lies. It was refreshing to find a charismatic preacher (Pierce Brosnan) who actually seems to believe what he says, or has nearly convinced himself. The rest of the cast deserved more fully developed characters, with that this might have been a truly exceptional comedy.
January 12, 2014
A funny, but less than hilarious, satire of evangelical religious leaders and their megachurch followers. An excellent cast all do a fine job in their roles but perhaps the targets of the humor are simply too easy for it to be as funny as I would have hoped. Not great but enjoyable.
Harlequin68
Super Reviewer
½ November 27, 2013
"Salvation Boulevard" starts with a debate between noted atheist intellectual Peter Blaylock(Ed Harris) and Pastor Dan Day(Pierce Brosnan) of the Third Millennium Church. After the show, Peter and Dan have a drink in Peter's office where Dan accidentally shoots Peter with an antique gun, which is witnessed by Carl(Greg Kinnear), one of Dan's followers. While Dan seeks to cover it up before having a terrible experience watching a Tom Cruise movie, Carl tries to do the right thing which leads Jerry(Jim Gaffigan) to try to go old testament on him.

"Salvation Boulevard" is a frustrating near miss that a game cast does what it can with sketchily drawn characters but to no avail. Evangelical religion is such low hanging fruit these days that one has to really work at it to have something new to say, and a multiplex showing religious films will just not cut it. And you know you're in trouble when the best laugh of the entire movie and perhaps the only true one comes in the endnotes.
½ October 31, 2013
A decent effort to parody the myriad of church organisations and their devotees in bible-belt land. Pierce Brosnan gets the sleaze level just about right for his pastor and although its not belly-laugh funny its joyful enough to see the lengths the array of characters go to to protect their leader. That said the story is all over the place at times and could have been directed better than it is.
August 8, 2013
An open mind movie for open mind people (not fan/freak) based on a book of the same name. It has black/dark comedy, a bit of blood/violence (kind of comical) and a very twisted ending. Is worth the watch if you are bored or need some 7th Art inspiration on this genre. - 3 stars of 5 (sometimes is slow and the score is very saint...not my taste of music).

August 8, 2013 (review).
July 28, 2013
I thought this was funny, certainly not the 25% rating on Flixster.... but it is formulaic and the anti religious undertones probably put a lot of people off. In any case this is a solid dark comedy though it does not stand out in any special way.
July 14, 2013
I was expecting so much more - was hoping this was one of those hidden gems -- I was wrong...
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