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Fireproof (DVD Review)

20 Jan, 2009 By: John Latchem


Street 1/27/09
Sony Pictures
Box Office $33.4 million
$28.95 DVD
Rated ‘PG’ for thematic material and some peril.
Stars Kirk Cameron, Erin Bethea.

Not satisfied with Hollywood’s brand of entertainment, the congregation of Sherwood Baptist Church in Georgia decided to make their own. The creators of Flywheel and Facing the Giants return with this Christian morality tale about the bonds of marriage.

Kirk Cameron, showing how much he’s grown up since “Growing Pains,” stars as Caleb, a fire captain in Albany, GA, whose marriage is falling apart. He doesn’t think his wife (Erin Bethea) respects him, and she thinks he takes her for granted.

As their fights intensify, and divorce seems imminent, Caleb’s father asks him to wait 40 days and gives him a book of tasks to perform each day. This is a tie-in with The Love Dare, a self-help book from the makers of the film designed to get spouses to think less of themselves and more of their partnership.

Caleb’s troubles at home stand in contrast with his job, where he is always in control of the situation. The symbolism is pretty obvious. He fights fires for a living but can’t put out the fires at home.

The film is clearly designed for a niche audience, and anyone not wanting a lecture about faith would be advised to steer clear. There are some heartfelt scenes that more-cynical individuals might consider laughable (Caleb’s internal struggle with Internet porn being a prime example).

The target audience is going to eat this up. The performances are sincere, and the script is driven by simple poignancy. Some scenes involving the firehouse crew are quite funny in their own right and provide a needed respite from the heavy-handedness of the marriage lessons.

But even cynics may appreciate a special “Fireproof in 60 Seconds” short on the DVD, which condenses the plot into a hilarious minute-long clip that basically spoofs the film.

The DVD also offers deleted scenes, a commentary with the writer and director, a bevy of behind-the-scenes featurettes and some “Love Dare” supplements probably intended for use by church groups.

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