Sam (Alex Russell) stands on stage as thousands of fans go wild. Smart, charismatic, handsome, he moves them with his message, and when he calls for donations to his charity, the money pours in. Only thing is, Sam doesn’t believe a word he’s saying. Just months earlier, Sam was a typical college senior focused on keg stands, hookups and graduation. But when a surprise tuition bill threatens his dream of law school and leaves him thousands of dollars in the hole, he’s forced to think outside the box. Convincing his three roommates they can make a killing exploiting the gullible church crowd, the guys start a sham charity and begin campaigning across the country, raising funds for a cause as fake as their message. For Sam, embezzling money is easy compared to getting attention from the person he cares about the most. When Callie (Johanna Braddy), the tour manager and Sam’s love interest, finally uncovers the guys’ ruse, it’s Sam’s moment of truth. On the final night of the tour, before a packed auditorium but alone in the spotlight, it’s time for Sam to decide what he really believes.(c) Official Site
Believe Me the cynical satire on modern, money-hungry, mega-church Christianity is a half-hearted, shallow indictment on soulless American congregations that doesn’t quite work. This is too bad, because it had a lot going for it. Sam is a dynamic speaker void of theology encouraging people to give money is taken to the next level here. This time, he wants the money to pay for his last semester of college that he owes his university. Nick Offerman delivers a very good cameo role. The deadpan stare was great! Sam convinces his friends to get in on the scheme because “Saving Africa is as popular to Christians as Jesus himself.” is a dynamic speaker delivering a prayer “ripped off from Jerry Maguire.”
At times, Believe Me is more jaded than Saved, but not as sharp on critiquing Christian culture. At times, it almost affirms it. There is a montage about Christians that comes across as thinking too hard about how to be Christian. The best honest moment near these scenes came in a line when Sam was preaching, (“I know I’m going to get an email about this, but he is kind of ‘an a-hole.’”) This movie makes a statement that well-spoken men with shallow theology can convince many believers to do anything within their power.
Christian hip-hop artist Lecrae who has the number on album on Billboard right now has a howling cameo mocking cheesy Christian movies. As a Christian artist, he knows the sub-genre of mass entertainment produced for Christians is subpar and knowing this pretty much winks at the camera every second he is on screen. It was good to see him. This genre doesn’t reflect reality in movies like God’s Not Dead and Persecuted. Audiences deserve more realism and complexity with their faith. That is a direction Believe Me should have taken instead of ultimately pandering to an audience it never really lured in to begin with an ending disconnected from the rest of the movie.
I rate Believe Me a 5.5 out of 10.
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