How you like Courageous — an overtly Christian-targeted production about four police officers learning lessons about God and family — will likely mirror how you view church: It?s either an overlong ordeal filled with talky sermonizing or an uplifting communion with your deity and values. Or it?s just not your thing in the first place. The movie starts off well enough with agreeable characters, passable dialogue, and the genial tone of an episode of 7th Heaven, but eventually devolves into over-the-top drama and a suffocating heavy-handedness. Prayers are made and answered on a regular basis, a cynical agnostic converts and is immediately transfigured into a better man, and characters stop to lecture for minutes on end about God?s plan while all but looking at the camera and into the audience. To the film?s credit, the tragic accident at its center is handled respectfully and not mined for easy moralizing, making it rather moving. But for all intents and purposes the theater seats might as well be pews. Following his last few films, including 2008?s Fireproof, director Alex Kendrick is clearly trying to bring popcorn-munching moviegoers into the fold — but it?s more likely he?s just preaching to the choir. C

  • Movie
  • 101 minutes