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The Independent Critic

STARRING
Richard Speight Jr., Stelio Savante, Elijah Rock, Barry Corbin, Sharon Wright, Irma P. Hall, Audrey Matos
DIRECTED BY
John Eschenbaum
SCREENPLAY
Steve Gray
MPAA RATING
Rated PG
RUNNING TIME
89 Mins.
DISTRIBUTED BY
FilmWorks Entertainment (DVD)
DVD EXTRAS
Behind-the-Scenes Featurette; Audio Commentary; Trailer; Photo Gallery
ORDER THIS FILM
 "Three Blind Saints" a Family Friendly Comedy 
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To avoid jail in a small town, Sam (Richard Speight Jr.), Frankie (Stelio Savante) and Jamal (Elijah Rock) agree to "community service" at Rocky Road Community Church, a seemingly quaint little church currently going through more than its share of challenges.

Now then, if you can buy into the idea that Sam, Frankie and Jamal become the pastor, children's pastor and music director respectively, then there's more than a decent chance that you'll find much to enjoy in 3 Blind Saints, a breezy and family friendly comedy that has just arrived on home video courtesy of the folks at FilmWorks Entertainment.

The film is essentially a blue collar version of just about every faith-lite film you've ever seen though its heart is good enough and its laughs plentiful enough to give the film at least a modest recommendation. In fact, despite the film's occasionally awkward pacing and performances that tapped into the humor more than the heart of the film's message, I can't deny that I laughed out loud several times during the film and found myself smiling as everything started to wind down.

It goes without saying that things for our three leading men won't go quite as they'd planned, mostly courtesy of the town's richest man (deliciously evil Barry Corbin) and his right-hand woman (recent regional Emmy Award-winning filmmaker Sharon Wright). The film also benefit greatly from the presence of the always awesome Irma P. Hall as one of the church's patrons, while Audrey Matos has a nice appearance as Tiffany, the obligatory single and attractive parishioner/mom and all around good-hearted woman.

Virtually everything about Three Blind Saints is formulaic and for a film that doesn't necessarily profess its Christianity it sure does preach quite a bit, but for the most part folks who enjoy this kind of film aren't concerned about the formula and are just looking for a good message, a few laughs and a safe film for the entire family.

Mission accomplished.

First-time director John Eschenbaum (The Steve & Kathy Show) has no problem with the mechanics of direction, though there are times you wish he'd have tightened the film up and worked on the pacing. The film "feels" over at about the 50-minute mark, with the obvious story arc already complete and most of the characters winding down. The only problem with that is that there's a good 30 minutes to go before everything actually does wind down.

The film's biggest deficit, in fact, has little to do with Eschenbaum, his cast or his crew. It may, however, have something to do with screenwriter Steve Gray, whose script is just close enough to the indie gem Happy, Texas that you can't help but occasionally think of that superior film.

The film's humor does occasionally get a tad rude for your typical faith-based audience, though with a PG-rating it should be noted that things are generally safe for family viewing. As expected, the film's good heart wins in the end and Three Blind Saints earns enough points for its heart and humor to be worth a watch.

© Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic  
    The Official Rating Guideline
    • A+ to A: 4 Stars                
    • A- to B+: 3.5 Stars            
    • B: 3 Stars                         
    • B- to C+: 2.5 Stars           
    • C: 2 Stars
    • C- to D+: 1.5 Stars
    • D: 1 Star
    • D-: .5 Star
    • F: Zero Stars

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