Luke Rogers is struggling to be the Christian he says he is. He’s living with his girlfriend and works a questionable bartender job with his friend. What’s more, he can’t shake the fact that he always had an unhealthy relationship with his father and that this still affects him today. Luke sees his outspoken Christian neighbor always doing good things and being made fun of for it, and wishes that he could be like him. Luke and his girlfriend will have to learn that choices are important and that real Christianity doesn’t come easily.
Production Quality (1 point)
In nearly all aspects, Lukewarm is cheap. While the camera work, video quality, and audio quality are okay, they are not wowing. The soundtrack is cheesy and pedestrian. Perhaps the most draining portion of the production quality is the cheesiness of the sets and locations. While they are slightly diverse, they scream amateur movie makers. Things don’t look like they are supposed to and props are very B-grade. The surroundings have an odd feel that makes the entire movie feel manufactured. Finally, the editing is sloppy, just throwing scenes together with no rhyme or reason to them. In short, though there was a limited budget, no care was taken by the creators to try to be tasteful, thus making it another silly Christian attempt at a movie.
Plot and Storyline Quality (.5 point)
Lukewarm makes a commendable effort to portray important issues facing American Christians, yet they are portrayed in a strawman fashion. Whatever good ideas exist in this plot are mismanaged and turned into trite asides that blow over the audience’s heads. As for the plot itself, it is full of too many disjointed subplots that do not work well together and lack continuity. One character does something, and then another character does stuff, and then they all meet up in an unlikely way. Characters are too black and white—‘good’ characters are completely moral and tend to condescend on the ‘bad’ characters, who become ‘good’ very quickly after empty inspirational experiences. Despite its title, not much about this film is ambiguous. Issues are resolved too quickly, and dialogue is either obvious or petty. While we usually encourage the use of flashbacks, the ones used in Lukewarm are very cheesy. To top things off, besides the neatly fixed ending, the film includes one of those obnoxious credits photo montages showing you what the characters did afterward. In summary, Lukewarm started with a good idea of showing how Christians easily become sidetracked on useless and potentially dangerous activities and how broken family systems effect people later in life, but it quickly descended into another giant laughable strawman.
Acting Quality (.5 point)
With a cast of supposedly talented actors and actresses, Lukewarm demonstrates the importance of acting coaching, especially with an amateur script. When some actors and actresses are better in some movies but not in others, this is the reason. In Lukewarm, line delivery is forced and awkward. Emotions are too obvious. Only a handful of good acting moments save this score from being zero. To sum it up, Lukewarm is pretty much a disaster on all fronts.
A word of advice: before making a movie, especially a movie with the Christian tag, make sure you have a great plot and deep characters before proceeding. Creating a film based off of a mere idea is not good enough and only further contributes to the sagging quality of Christian media. We find ourselves saying this over and over again, but the fact remains that the Christian film market is wrought with ill-advised low quality productions that continue to give Christian creativity a horrible reputation. Ideas are great and should be turned into realities, but movies need great teams behind them; otherwise, nothing will change in Christian film making.
Final Rating: 2 out of 10 points