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Heaven Ain’t Hard to Find (DVD Review)

26 Mar, 2011 By: Ashley Ratcliff

Street 3/29/11
$19.98 DVD
Rated ‘PG-13’ for sexual references.
Stars Clifton Powell, Kym Whitley, Andre Pitre, Tasha Taylor.

At the heart of Heaven Ain’t Hard to Find is a stirring message about the love of Jesus Christ, forgiveness and how anyone can start over again, no matter their past.

The film opens at a Los Angeles prison, where Malcolm Anthony Anderson (Andre Pitre) is denied parole a fifth time. Malcolm has a lengthy rap sheet but swears he was wrongly convicted for his role in a robbery gone wrong. While the system may have given up on him, Malcolm finds God behind those prison walls and has undergone training there to become a carpenter.

At his wits’ end serving a 10- to 25-year sentence, Malcolm escapes prison and heads into the inner city. He lands at a Baptist church in need of a carpenter, as well as a pastor. Three sassy church ladies — Hattie May (Kym Whitley, also a co-producer), Coretta (Jozella Reed) and Viola (Samantha McSwain) — meet Malcolm and determine that he’s the answer to the struggling church’s prayers. Just as Jesus Christ was a carpenter and a felon, so is Malcolm. But Malcolm feels convicted about his blemished past.

Meanwhile, Tiffany (Tasha Taylor), the daughter of the late pastor, is torn between trying to keep the church afloat and selling the house of worship to her much-older fiancé, Big Bill Herod (Clifton Powell), a greedy developer with ulterior motives for the property. Through it all, the church ladies, Malcolm and Tiffany lean on God — and each other — for understanding to get them through their situations.

As a musical play, Heaven Ain’t Hard to Find showcases Pitre’s velvety voice and the women’s soulful singing, as they belt out treasured gospel favorites.

At 77 minutes, some of the story elements come across as rushed and too convenient. Still, when you consider the message of hope, one can excuse those oversights.

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