Kirk Cameron’s Saving Christmas

Samuel Goldwyn Films
Rated PG for some thematic elements.
Running time: 80 minutes.
Zero stars out of four.

Let’s just set aside the ideology for a second. We’ll get to that, I promise.

Purely from a technical perspective — from a perspective of sheer craft — “Kirk Cameron’s Saving Christmas” is hilarious in its ineptitude. It feels simultaneously slapped together and padded. It is “The Room” of Christmas movies. Actually, “The Room” is more enjoyable. But you get the idea.

Even with a climactic, overlong dance sequence to a hip-hop version of “Angels We Have Heard on High” (and I wish I were making that up), “Saving Christmas” feels desperately stretched to reach a respectable running time. It is barely 80 minutes long. It feels much, much longer.

Didactic dialogue, stiff performances, flat jokes, baffling camera angles, inexplicable editing choices and lighting and sound values that are below those of a high school AV club project — these are the hallmarks of this laughably cheesy production aimed at Christian audiences. Between this, “Moms’ Night Out” and “Persecuted” this year alone, I remain baffled as to why these films tend to look so shoddy.

As you might be able to surmise from the title, Cameron — the “Growing Pains” child actor of the 1980s turned evangelist — serves as executive producer and star. Darren Doane is the director, co-writer and co-star. Large chunks of the film consist of the two men sitting in the front seat of a minivan outside a house where Doane’s character — the conveniently named Christian — is seething while a gaudy Christmas party rages inside. And by “rages,” I mean it features kids running around, a dude dressed in a Santa Claus costume, a stereotypically sassy black friend and plenty of extras looking straight into the camera.

Cameron’s character, whose name just happens to be Kirk, has walked outside to find out what’s troubling Christian, who’s married to his sister (Bridgette Ridenour, who is often shot standing behind the island in the kitchen, partially obscured by poinsettias). Kirk is helpful enough to narrate the fact that he’s walking outside to see what’s troubling Christian; then again, he narrates everything that’s going on and repeatedly spells out everything we’re supposed to be thinking and feeling.

Seems Christian is irked by the materialistic orgy the holiday has become. He can’t find any references to Santa Claus or Christmas trees in the Bible. These are pagan traditions. The reason for the season has been eviscerated (my word, not his). He wants to put the Christ back in Christmas.

Without missing a beat, Kirk goes back through the Bible and cherry picks details and passages that validate modern-day Christmas iconography. Never mind that these arguments don’t jibe with either religious or historical teachings. Kirk is flipping the script in totally selective ways to suit his purposes and those of the film. Each of these examples comes illustrated with a fantasy sequence that looks as if it was shot in someone’s backyard. And at the end of each one, Christian says something along the lines of, “You know what? You’re right. I never thought of it that way.” Case closed.

Basically, the moral of the story is that we should embrace the excess of Christmas — the presents and the feasts and the lavish parties — because it’s the manifestation of God’s love in material form. In one of Kirk’s many lengthy voiceovers, he insists that we should buy the biggest ham and cook with the richest butter when we sit down with family and friends to enjoy our Christmas dinner. On second thought, this is the only part of the film that actually makes any sense.

Anyway, this movie might be a lot of fun if you watched it with a group of friends over beers. Cameron mentions hot cocoa so many times throughout the course of the film’s 80 minutes, it could be a drinking game. I attended a matinee with five other people at a depressing theater in Burbank, the only place in Los Angeles showing “Kirk Cameron’s Saving Christmas.” Trudging out afterward, I did not sense that any of us were newly filled with the holy spirit.

39 Comments on “Kirk Cameron’s Saving Christmas

  1.  by  Kyle S.

    I truly can’t believe that Kirk Cameron has no self-awareness whatsoever.

    •  by  Dani

      I don’t so much believe that as I hope that to be the case. Then that may serve as some excuse for the ridiculousness of this person. His previous rants on homosexuality is case in point enough.

  2.  by  Rodney

    People like Kirk Cameron and gospel singers and such make a good living making and marketing this crap to religious people. I used to be a Christian, than I grew up. Did my own research and actually read the bible. Sorry, but it’s a joke to think that the things in the bible are true. The bible doesn’t talk about Saturnalia. The point I’m ultimately trying to make, this movie sucks.

    •  by  Jason

      It’s sad to see when people abandon the faith. I don’t usually respond to these posts and stuff but I felt compelled here. Choose what you want to believe Rodney but I could just as well say that if did some more research you could find ways to reaffirm your faith in God. The problem I think is people are sort of forced to go to church and do so out of that or tradition instead of free will. Therefore, you don’t really listen and it all sounds didactic.

      I’m a Christian, still and yet I can acknowledge that yeah sure a lot of the stuff the Bible talks about sounds fantastic and more like something you’d see in a blockbuster film that real life. However, what makes me accept these fantastic things in the Bible is accepting it happens through God, not man. Christ walked on water because being the Son of God he was able to do supernatural things like that. It wasn’t Moses parting the red sea or making water come out of rocks or whatever supernatural thing that was attributed to him. That was God’s power working through him. If you go back and read the Bible, but do so accepting everything happens because of God and nothing is impossible with Him, then you can see it isn’t so hard to believe.

      And there are books and films that I believe make a good point. Lee Strobel the author of a Case for Christ and a Case for God started out an atheist/skeptic and tried in fact to find ways of disproving the Christian faith. But it in his research he became a believer. The film God’s Not Dead has both the Atheist and the Christian point of view. C.S. Lewis the author of those Chronicles of Narnia books was himself an atheist but later turned to a more Christian point of view. And in fact if you look up on Youtube you can find Mr. Lewis’ speaking on the atheist/theist point of view.

      Being a Christian isn’t an easy nor often acceptable path especially in our times when so many are abandoning the faith because they feel “enlightened”. We praise people whose lifestyles are disgusting because someone has convinced the masses that it’s okay and normal but what is normal and okay about people whose idea of sexual intercourse is to put their private parts in dirty, filthy places that weren’t designed for such use? Has anyone ever questioned not only how unsanitary this is but how potentially harmful it could be poking in sensitive places like that. Looking at it from just a medical perspective it looks that people who engage in sodomy are at risk of acquiring some type of disease or rupturing the colon and causing an internal infection.

      Then there is this taking an atheist perspective of how the universe can exist without a God. People who are scientists actually believe that with the complexity of life in its subatomic particles and the patterns that nature operates and all of the myriad of forms that life takes, it just randomly came to be. Or that it always was. But the universe is observed as ever expanding so that shows it has not always been. No, I think that the existence of a divine Creator makes more sense than not.

      Something else I believe that would make many think of me as a loon would be that I acknowledge the existence of not only God but Satan as well. Yet, it’s not so crazy when paranormal investigators themselves say they find prove not only of the existence of human spirits but inhuman as well. The voices people hear in their head that many have said told them to do this or that evil act gives proof to what the Bible says to paraphrase of man not wrestling against flesh and blood but darker forces. Or, our minds are the Devil’s battleground. Heck, look at some of the grotesque creatures that you see in films or elsewhere in the media. Inspiration for creating things that hideous has to come from somewhere wouldn’t you agree.

      All of this I say, is because I feel compelled as a Christian to speak up for my faith, when we live in times when so many people seem to have such a vile hate for us. It’s all a matter of free will anyway, however people choose to live or what they choose to believe in. But, I believe because I’ve had my faith questioned and tested and have experiences that might would have driven other people insane. Yet, I stand by the grace of God and the only reason I’m not dead, in prison or otherwise insane is because of my creator and his son my savior Jesus Christ and his blessed Holy Spirit.

      Having said all that, I haven’t seen Kirk Cameron’s movie but I say if we’re judging it be on the merit of the film not on the man who made it. I’ve seen awesome movies made by atheists I admit and I’ve seen mediocre films made by fellow believers but I’ve also seen vice versa.

      •  by  NotVito

        Um, Jason? Did you post first as Rodney so you could reply with this apologetics tripe?

        Methinks you did…

      •  by  Poopdogg69

        So you admit you’ve seen a movie made by atheists and enjoyed it? Sounds like Satan’s got a hold on your soul already dude!!!

        •  by  Scott

          Yup… to name just two:
          2001: A Space Odyssey. Though not about atheism, it was a collaborative effort by Kubrick and Clarke, two well known atheists.
          Contact is also based on a book by a well known atheist: Sagan. Though the movie and book both try to pull some common ground between the two: Theism and Atheism.

          •  by  Matt

            Sagan was not an atheist he was an agnost and he in fact said (and this is a directo quote) “Atheism is very stupid.” That’s a DIRECT quote. He outright said that there are many things science can not explain at this point and to discount a higher power is like discounting the big bang (ergo folly). He wasn’t buying faith hook line and sinker, he was just saying he’ll believe anything is possible until he sees proof. If you are going attack people at least try and get your facts right.

        •  by  silvia planchett

          He’s depriving a village somewhere of an idiot!
          Religion: It’s like history class without the facts.

      •  by  Natsume Tsukino

        Small point of fact, God’s not Dead had an atheist _character_ (Kevin Sorbo) — it didn’t have an atheist viewpoint.

        Put another way, Kevin Sorbo played an atheist named “Straw Man”, with the rest of the movie acting as a lovefest towards a christian wet dream — the whole college class walking out because they presumably all found jesus.

        (hint — the student character wasn’t compelling .. certainly not compelling enough to have the effect written into the script).

      •  by  emma

        If you believe the movie “God’s Not Dead” gave an atheist point of view, I’m guessing you are an evangelical Christian, having a tired stereotype of an arrogant professor screeching about how much he hates god, would no doubt seem to be an atheist’s view,
        to your average 700 club viewer and Pat Robertson groupie.

      •  by  Ken

        So reading the Bible makes sense? Was it Moses telling his soldiers to kill the women and boys and save the virgins for themselves. The book of Job saying the Earth does not move? (Look it up.) Ezekiel prophesying the fall of Tyre and Egypt to Babylon/ Or Jesus saying he would return before that present generation passed away. There are more errors, contradictions and outright lies in the Bible than you can name, but people still believe this guff because otherwise their loving and merciful God will roast them in Hell for all eternity.

      •  by  JOhn

        Well, like most Christians you always have to include your comments on homosexuality. Christianity has been so hung up on this for centuries it is quite amazing. Like really, some guy (whomever it was thousands of years ago) wrote a couple of lines that potentially could be interpreted as saying being gay is wrong. When Christianity formed, they just loved to grab that particular line and run with it, and it still survives to this day. There is no rational and logical reason to condemn gay couplings; they only thing they got is something the Bible potentially says in a very tiny set of lines. (as it can be interpreted in other ways). That’s it!

        Now, onto the other part you went in about the universe needing a creator. This is what always hurts your arguments. On the surface, saying something such as “life and the universe is so complex, it MUST have a creator”, can sound pretty good, right? But here is where you discredit yourself. This creator, would be infinitely more complex than life and the universe. But, you accept that this creator does NOT need to be created. It just always existed. So you are suspending your belief system on one half of that discussion. When challenging christians on that the best you can get it some nonesense about how we live in time, god created time, and outside of time there is no need for a “a beginning”.

        The reason non-christians, agnostics, or athiests make fun of you is because normal and intelligent human beings have to make huge gaps in logic and reasoning to continue to stick to these worn out old principles.

      •  by  johnnyhenry

        Christ walked on water huh? And you know this how? “If you go back and read the Bible, but do so accepting everything happens because of God and nothing is impossible with Him then you can see it isn’t so hard to believe”.
        Please explain how this makes it easy to believe that Christ is the son of God and thus walked on water and that God was working through Moses allowing him to part the Red Sea. Are you incapable of seeing how completely nonsensical your statement is? How completely devoid of logic it is? Obviously if you “go back and read the Bible” or ANY book for that matter and MINDLESSLY without thinking accept that “everything” that “happens” is a result of “God and nothing is impossible with Him”, then, of course, “it isn’t so hard to believe”.
        Can you be any more ridiculous? By that line of reasoning you can go back and read any book on the planet and assume that anything is possible. Why would I assume that everything happens because of God? On what basis would I want to assume that? What evidence is there that everything happens because of God? Not only is this a completely and stupid, false assumption to make (as no one in their right mind would accept it) because there is no evidence to support your mindless claim that God can work through anyone giving them the ability to perform miracles, but it’s based on another assumption for which you also provide absolutely no evidence for: the assumption that God even exists. Please if you are going to spout the Bible spare the world statements like this that are so incredibly ridiculous they are insulting to the intelligence of anyone with a brain. Sorry the fact that you read about “God” in a book called the Bible doesn’t mean a thing. It’s just a book like any other. It doesn’t prove that God exists or that He performed miracles. It can’t be used as evidence for anything.

        And as for your hateful diatribe aimed at homosexuality, besides the fact that you don’t have a clue about medical science and the human body, your insinuation that sexual preference is wrong based on your Bible is nothing more than hateful and misguided intolerance.

        I could go on and on about how incredibly stupid your arguments are concerning the creation of the universe, atheism, and the nature of the human mind (people hearing voices giving proof to something in the Bible is pure bullshit), but there’s so much misinformation and delusion in your commentary it would fill up an entire Bible.

        Get a life and a clue. Stop making an ass of yourself. And no matter how you look at Cameron’s film… it sucks to high heaven. You should watch it over and over again because you’re just as deluded as him.

    •  by  Tim Hoehner

      Actually I don’t know about Saturnalia? Roman Holiday celebrating Jupiter on Dec. 7th. but the bible does make a reference to something that from the description in the Bible is what we would call a Christmas Tree. Is the Christmas tree a idol to Asherah or not, I don’t know. I’ve heard some arguments against it, and some that support it. Really it’s up to you to make your own decisions on this. Hopefully your not basing your decisions on the movies. Personally I found far too many Priests, Pastors etc to be woefully ignorant of what the Bible actually says vs dogma.

    •  by  Heaven bound

      Hello.
      You declare growing up caused you believe you don’t need Jesus. I declare without Jesus we living a lie. The evidence of life without Jesus, is a life of sin. I don’t believe you were ever a Christian at heart, only in name. When ones heart grasp who Jesus is and what he went through. Denying him is like not breathing. Merry CHRIST mas everyday because life without Christ is a crisis.

      P. s the scriptures you mock have endured centuries of mocking. there’s a Devine reason why and only by God’s grace shall see why.

      Isaiah 40:8The grass withers and the flowers fade,
      but the word of our God stands forever

      •  by  oh lord

        “Heaven bound” (nice name, real subtle), your comment is a bizarrely incoherent knee-jerk reaction. Want to try again?

      •  by  anon

        No true Scotsman argument, niiiiiiice. It’s almost like you’re covering your ears and screaming loudly, so that no one can penetrate your flawed logic of the world. Keep going with that buddy if you scream loud enough maybe you block out everything else that goes against your beliefs.

      •  by  johnnyhenry

        The scriptures haven’t endured a thing. They’re still just words in a book. “The evidence of life without Jesus, is a life of sin”. What does that even mean? So your logic is that if someone sins then they don’t believe in Jesus? Is that it? Problem is your statement is incoherent. Your cause and effect is faulty and lacking in basic logic. How about this (using your dopey thinking): everybody sins in life which is evidence that Jesus doesn’t exist.

        As for your quote from the Bible…empty meaningless platitude

    •  by  Dani

      Haha “…but then I grew up”. Truth. I used to put cookies out for Santa’s reindeer…but then I grew up. I know fundamentalist Christians get tired of the God is to Santa argument but it really is the. same. damn. thing.

  3.  by  Thomas Korn

    “The room is more enjoyable… ” he he. nice one.

    I Read your review as a link from Rotten Tomatoes. Good job! What baffles me (aside from EVERYONE involved in making this “film” were either very happy to do it or totally out of their minds like Kirk is) Plus, it has a higher rating that “Ouija” (by one percent)

  4.  by  Darren

    One of the best movies of the year. Dont miss it!!

    …is what I will say if Kirk Cameron gives me $5,000 dollars.
    (I could use the money this Christmas).

  5.  by  Nate Fleming

    Personally, I wouldn’t lump “Mom’s Night Out” with “Persecuted” and “Saving Christmas”. Of the three, MNO was actually enjoyable, pretty well-written, and accessible to people who are in that place in life – religious or not. I would, however, put “God’s Not Dead” and “Left Behind” into the lump.

    Fair review for a movie that was less a movie and more a filmed sermon.

  6.  by  Jamie

    Could this be worse than Ralph Macchio’s Holiday Spin? It sounds like it! Why do former 80s stars make such terrible Christmas minutes?

  7.  by  Danny

    delightfully, all those points about how Santa and greenery shouldn’t be in Christmas were originally made by Puritans and Presybterians 17th-19th centuries–so we basically have today’s fundies fighting against yesterday’s …

    “Bürgeon Marghy, youagh tearghing me apaaaaaaht!”

  8. Pingback: Kirk Cameron’s Crusade to Resurrect His Rotten Christmas Movie Gets Hilariously Crucified by ‘Atheists and Secularists’ | Americans Against the Tea Party

  9.  by  Jason Luthor

    If Jesus is the reason for the season, then celebrate in December. That’s when he would have been born.

    •  by  Heaven bound

      Those who truly love Jesus are all about CHRIST mas everyday. As more Christ is life and life more abundantly! God bless.

    •  by  Leah

      I always heard March (with the possibility of October).

      I haven’t seen this movie, but is Kirk Cameron arguing that God is pro all the wasteful crap we fight over on Black Friday because it is a “material representation of God’s love?” I don’t think Jesus would be pro materialism. He was kind of pro “give all your goods to the poor.”

  10.  by  Tucker Lieberman

    I also saw the movie. What puzzled me most was that it was presented as a solution to a problem I wasn’t aware existed. Devout Christians not enjoying their own Christmas parties? Blame it on the existence of some faraway, invisible “pagans” whose scroogey grinchisms suck all the cosmic light of Jesus into their black hole of ignorant existential despair. Say it is so, and now the problem is fixed. Despair-be-gone. Enjoy Christmas once again.

  11.  by  lynnie

    Sweet Christmas movie. Cute to watch with the family.

  12.  by  Kathy H

    I checked out Kirk Cameron’s website, he’s quite the evangelical entrepreneur, the weirdest item for sale is the “Saving Christmas” blend of Kirk’s Coffee, inviting buyers to “taste the glory”…I guess cashing in on Christmas is OK with fundamentalist Christians, as long as they’re the ones cashing in!!!

    •  by  Heaven bound

      That’s despicable. That’s what God’s word says making merchandise of you. Peddling God’s word. These guys are really a poor example of Jesus sacrifice and love. Jesus and the apostles didn’t go around selling stuff.

  13.  by  calling all toasters

    Apparently Jesus drove the money changers from the temple because they were needed at the mall.

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  16.  by  SantaIsNotDead

    How can a Christian believe in all of the irrational, magical lunacy lurking in the bible when they are carrying the equivalent of a billion science/engineering experiments (that are incidentally corroborated every time they successfully place a call) in their pocket in the form of the modern smartphone. Hmmm??? Some serious cognitive dissonance on display.

    Christians REJOICE, for God is truly not dead, he just never existed in the first place!