The God Complex (2009)

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Genres: Comedy, Religious Comedy, Satire
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Mark Pirro Mark Pirro
Gust Alexander Gust Alexander
Lauren Baldwin Lauren Baldwin
Paul Bunnell Paul Bunnell
Tony Cicchetti Tony Cicchetti
Bill Devlin Bill Devlin

6.9 / 10 - Overall Rating

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Review by Chad
Added: September 09, 2009
I am not a religious man. I know, it may come as a bit of a shock to those of you who have seen the kind of movies that I typically watch and add to this site, but it's true: I do not believe in a higher power, I think that science trumps blind faith, and in fact, I've many times over stated that the world would be a much more peaceful place if all religion was outlawed. So, here we have a movie that is an easy 10/10, right? I mean, it's poking fun at religion, and since I share the same mindset of the filmmakers, I should have assumed right from the start that I would love this movie... right? Well, not really. You see, I usually have a morbid curiosity about religious comedies because they can be great fun when handled properly, but sadly, that is not how they usually turn out: some filmmakers try much to hard to push whatever their beliefs may be onto the viewer, and regardless of which side they lean toward, it turns out to be a snoozefest. Still, the trailer for this one intrigued me, so I decided to check it out. I wasn't disappointed.

According to The God Complex, God (Gust Alexander) is an overweight and balding man in a bowling shirt who is quick to anger and even quicker to seek revenge on those who spite him... or those who don't worship the ground that he made and walks on. If you've ever been to Sunday school or if you've so much as thumbed through a bible, you more than likely know where the story goes from there: he creates the universe with a flick of his wrist, he puts Adam and Eve in the garden and commands them to populate the earth, Moses brings forth a set of commandments, and yes, we even see exactly how the immaculate conception went down. It's all done in a humorous fashion, of course; for example, when God commands Abraham to kill his only son, the original plan was for God to step in at the last moment and stop him - he just wanted to see if he'd go through with it. Thanks to a nagging girlfriend, however, that didn't quite happen in time. The film spans from "And then there was light" up to the present day, and it covers a good chunk of the biblical chapters in its two hour running time.

I have to admit, that two hour running time scared me before I popped the DVD in. You see, it's becoming more and more common for indie filmmakers to skip the editing room on their way to popping out a finished product. I've lost count of how many times I've seen two hour movies with eighty minutes of real material, so I was sort of expecting more of the same here. That was not the case, as except for the ending (more on that in a moment), I was loving each and every last minute of the film. The film is downright hilarious, the satire is spot on, and a lot of those discrepancies in the bible that you may have wondered about are acknowledged here.

So, about that ending. I won't spoil it, but it winds up with God finding himself in an unusual predicament courtesy of two non-believers. That's fine and dandy, as you do have to wrap things up with something. My problem here was that it did something that the rest of the film was very subtle about: it pushed the beliefs of the filmmakers onto the audience. We are told in no uncertain terms that religion and intelligence do not mix, Christianity as a whole is a crutch for the weak, and the human race would be infinitely better off without the good book. Now, here's the thing: I agree with those statements, but it just seemed there for the sake of making a statement that really didn't need to be made. Believers will be running to the nearest church to confess the sin of having seen this blasphemy, while non-believers will wonder what in the hell happened to the good material that we had been being treated to.

That did put a damper on my overall enjoyment, but again, I did love the majority of the film. The writing is beyond superb, and even though this is an indie production, it certainly doesn't look it: the video is crisp and clear, the audio is perfect, and everything seems completely professional. Gust Alexander is absolutely perfect as the almighty, and there are a handful of other roles that were filled by delightful actors (I also thought that Lauren Baldwin was damned good as Mary). As for the writing, I particularly enjoyed how they stayed relatively true to the spirit of the source, but added their own little spin to make it funny. I know, this is sort of how a proper satire film works, but it seems to be a dying art these days. For example, you all know the story of God coming to Moses in the form of a burning bush... but wait until you see how that plays out here. You're probably aware that God took great delight in screwing with Job... but do you know why? There are countless laughs wrapped up in those two hours, and I actually wouldn't mind seeing a part two with more stories from the bible.

Overall, The God Complex is a near-flawless film that is weakened only be an ending that suffers from the filmmakers injecting too much of their own personal opinions. If you can get past that, you'll find that the rest of the film is overflowing with laughs and is an all-around excellent release - in fact, it might rank up there with your favorites from the year. Personally, I know that it's an early candidate for my own year-end list. 8.5/10.
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