I watched Christian Mingle over the weekend because I write a blog, love movies, and hate Christian kitsch. And it was streaming on Netflix. But I’m not going to review this two year old movie in full because that’s silly, we all know it’s not great film making. But I’d like to chronicle what I believe the film’s greatest flaws are. Not an exhaustive list, but a list of the major offenses as I see them.
Do Note: I am not an unbiased observer. I wholeheartedly disagree with the cultish “Christian” approach toward marriage, I am willing to find fault wherever I want, and I dislike “Christian media” of any variety because I feel its “safety” and “Christianness” are just a quicksand trap to avoid critical thinking in all areas of your life.
Second note: Any time I use quotes from here on out it’s me actually quoting real lines from the movie. I say this because you may find that hard to believe.
Brief synopsis: A non-Christian woman wants to find a “decent guy” so she joins a Christian website and tries to fake being a Christian to put a ring on it.
To be honest, the title should give most of that plot away. So well done title.
Here’s where we start to go wrong:
Mission Trips Help White People — Sure, yeah, and the ethnic group they’re “ministering to” but that’s secondary. Mostly let’s use the natives to further the plot, drive home some good Jesus points, and definitely let the locals simple Christianity propel our heroine to Jesus. Plus who needs character development when you know our hero’s a Christian because he wants to put a bell in a church?
Christian women are bitches — Our heroine is a liar, for starters, but with good intentions so let’s leave her be. Both the mother and the only viable single Christian girl in the movie are delightful windows into how awful Christians can be to someone they view as either a threat or competition. When it comes to our hero Paul, “the last of the good ones that’s for sure” (i.e. the last single Christian bachelor around, apparently — seriously the guy has no male friends), it’s really important to rigorously vet any prospective romantic partner’s spirituality, make them feel uncomfortable and unwelcome, and definitely stress that you want nothing to do with them and think they’re awful because they saw a guy they liked and went for it. More importantly, once you discover she’s not a Christian, let her know that you want nothing to do with her. Totally what Jesus would want you to do.
Finding a good Christian guy on a Christian dating website is easey peasey –The movie may show our heroine filling out her dating profile, but by no means does it show the process she went through before finding Paul Wood. According to this hour and a half long advert for Christian Mingle it really is THAT EASY. The commercials they feature in the movie (because movies should be more like TV shows) mentioned “hundreds of Christians in your area!” But then alarmingly the movie later describes our hero as “the last” and as he has no single male friends, I’m wondering where the rest of these guys are hiding. I did a quick google search of “Christian dating website horror stories” and in the first five results found two articles where women encountered either a rapist or a “monster” via online Christian dating. No search results about women duplicitously conning good Christian men into dates. I guess one man’s horror is not a woman’s horror.
God and marriage have equal importance — “Jesus is there for us. All we have to do is call his name. And Mr. Right? He’s there too. You just have to reach into your heart and discover what’s true.” You hear that single ladies? God has a man out there for every woman. You just have to grossly reach into your own heart somehow. In your heart is the truth and Mr. Right. Supes easy women, don’t know why you’re still single. But actually it is probably your fault by not having a good enough relationship with God.
I like romantic comedies as much as the next girl. I’ve probably watched more of them than the next girl, actually. And I don’t mind secular society shilling this ooey-gooey, lovey-dovey, sugar-coated romance to the world. Because it’s false and I know it. But let’s not sell this tripe to Christian women. Christian women should be feasting on more substantial fare than this grossly marketed website built to woo Christian women into valuing marriage as the holy grail of relationships.
The only thing the movie got right is that the most important relationship in your life is the one with God. Good. Sold. End film there. But don’t pander to me that because I’m close to God “Mr. Right” is now around the corner. God is enough. And God will be enough for the rest of my life.
Every now and again I come across a popular “love” song that makes me want to stab a pencil in my ear. I’ll grant you not all of these are what I consider love songs, but they are songs supposedly about things I associate with love. And how to easily ruin them. And because I never suffer in silence, here they are, some of my least favorite, for your listening displeasure.
“I’m Comin’ Over” by Chris Young — Ignoring that this is the worst possible song to listen to if you’re trying to move on from someone toxic, I really, really just hate the line “I’m all alone but you’re on my phone.” As if your mother isn’t also on your phone. Or a bro-buddy. And then he tops it with, “why put out a fire when it’s still burning”. But it does raise a whole host of additional questions. Like, why put on a sweater when it’s still cold? Why eat when you’re going to get hungry again? Why stop listening to bro-country when your ears are already bleeding?
“Honey I’m Good.” by Andy Grammer — “So nah, nah, honey I’m good/I could have another but I probably should not/I’ve got somebody at home,/and if I stay I might not leave alone.” Ah, the old romantic story of a man who goes to a bar, brags about his willpower in not having the one last drink that will result in him sleeping with someone, and then boasts to his woman later about how faithful he was while she was presumably, what? Bathing the children at home, or folding his laundry? That’s definitely the kind of man a woman wants.
“Color My World” by Chicago — This is the most boring, depressing love song with the happiest of lyrics. I have no idea how someone can make “Color my world with your love” into something that sounds more like “You left me and so my life is over.” Reportedly, this was the slow song for my Dad’s prom back in the day. I can only suppose that when it finished hundreds of couples broke up and the gym was filled with crying.
“Stay with Me” by Sam Smith — I’m probably being too literal, but the whole premise of this song annoys me. “I’m not good at a one night stand/but I still need love ’cause I’m just a man”. Is basically translated to “Men need sex.” Gee, how could anyone refuse such a grunted offer? “This ain’t love, it’s clear to see/but darling, stay with me”. I personally can’t think of a more compelling reason to leave.
“Every Night” by Imagine Dragons — It starts off really well. “I’m coming home to you every night, every night, every night, every night“. Well that’s a win for a relationship. Until you realize what exactly is coming home to you. “The colorless sunrise that’s never good enough”, “the wind that’s in your hair that ruffles you up”. They may as well have just said they’re your little brother who constantly pokes you and asks “does this bug you?” because it’s that same level of romance.
“Marry You” by Bruno Mars — It still boggles my mind that actual real people have used this song to propose to their significant other. It’s like they picked it for the title alone and didn’t listen to any of the words before creating a choreographed routine with ten of their reluctant family members. The song literally starts with “We’re looking for something dumb to do” and then follows it with “I think I wanna marry you”. Which is the kind of confident decision-making you’d expect for a lifetime commitment. Bruno can’t decide if it’s because his girl’s eyes are sparkly or he’s drunk, but “who cares if we’re trashed”. To be honest with you, the song actually gets worse, but I’m too depressed to keep going.
“When Did You Fall” by Chris Rice — Ahh, romance for narcissists. That’s a group that was in desperate need of a love song. Apparently “You’re So Vain” just wasn’t cutting it any more. After all, Warren Beatty called dibs. “When did you fall in love with me?” is just a great start because you get the romantic high ground here. And to really drive that home, “Have you been waiting long?” Because I really didn’t notice you at all. For…like a long time! Ha ha! But hey, now that I know, totally. Let’s do it.
“Like the Woman I Love“ by Jason Mraz — Mraz makes a classic blunder here. Never use the thing you’re describing to describe the thing you’re describing. “I’m going to love you like the woman I love” like I love you like the woman I love like…oh dear God, it’s the never ending love song that gets you nowhere. I hope you enjoy having that line stuck in your head on repeat as much as I do.
“Thinking Out Loud” by Ed Sheeran — Was I the only one grossed out by “Place your head on my beating heart”? When I first heard that lyric all I could imagine was some macabre serial-killer scene. Romance, bloody romance.
“Tearin Up My Heart” by ‘NSync — This is an honorable mention because I can’t justify putting an old boy band up to critical lyric standards. But with the basic plot line of “when I’m with you it sucks and when I’m not with you it sucks” I think it’s fair to say that our poor little boy band is just plain confused with all the new emotions of their post-teen years.