Teen comedy with a different slant: it takes place at American Eagle Christian High School, a breeding ground for born-agains, and the exclusive social clique calls itself the Christian Jewels, an all-girl "road band for Jesus," and the misfit rebel is a Jewish nicotine fiend. The movie, directed and co-written by a would-be Alexander Payne by the name of Brian Dannelly, is brave in its choice of subject, perhaps, but bullish in treatment, pallid in image, and sanctimonious in its irreverence. With Jena Malone, Mandy Moore, Macaulay Culkin, Patrick Fugit, Eva Amurri, Martin Donovan, Mary-Louise Parker. 2004.

Duncan Shepherd

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