Catholic News Service
The parable of the prodigal son gets a soapy Hollywood treatment in “The Resurrection of Gavin Stone,” a faith-based comedy-drama.
The eponymous character (Brett Dalton) is a washed-up former child star whose bad-boy antics land him in big trouble during a visit to his hometown in Illinois. Sentenced to perform 200 hours of community service and unable to leave the state, Gavin reluctantly moves back in with his estranged father, Waylon (Neil Flynn), a carpenter (hint, hint).
Gavin’s community service is at an evangelical Christian megachurch run by Pastor Allen Richardson (D.B. Sweeney). “We really do believe in second chances here,” the pastor says.
Naturally, Gavin is a fish out of water and unused to cleaning bathrooms.
Fortunately, there is an outlet for his creative energy. The church is rehearsing a Passion play for Easter, and the ragtag group of volunteer actors could use some inspiration.
The production’s comely director, Kelly Richardson (Anjelah Johnson-Reyes), who happens to be the pastor’s daughter, is suspicious of the flashy newcomer. All actors must be professed Christians, so Gavin pretends he is saved.
“I’ve had the passion of the Christ for a couple of years now,” Gavin quips.
Before you can say “Alleluia!” Gavin is cast in the lead as Jesus, sheds his narcissism, and begins to see the light, as per the film’s title.
Dallas Jenkins directs with sincerity from a predictable but non-preachy script by Andrea Gyerston Nasfell that offers lessons in forgiveness and redemption suitable for all ages.
The film contains a nongraphic portrayal of the Crucifixion. The Catholic News Service classification is A-I, general patronage. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is PG.