Twelve lives intersect with the help of God. Rated PG
A self-aggrandizing sermon that preaches only to the faithful.
Brian Bosworth, Lee Majors, Cybill Shepherd
Twelve lives intersect in "Do You Believe?," a Christian drama intended solely for the faithful. Directed by Jonathan M. Gunn from a script by the producers, Chuck Konzelman and Cary Solomon (both of "God's Not Dead"), the film is filled with familiar story lines -- troubled teens, traumatized vets, petty hoodlums and other lost sheep -- but there is one narrative that has potential for real drama and perhaps even controversy.
It develops when an EMT, Bobby (Liam Matthews), tends to a man half-crushed in a worksite accident. Bobby checks the man's religious affiliation -- "I don't know," he answers -- then presses a wooden crucifix into his hand and encourages him to accept Jesus as his savior (he does, before dying). Not surprisingly, this lands Bobby in hot water, and soon he feels pressured to apologize for his faith.
It's a dilemma meaty enough to sustain an entire film -- but not this one, which isn't interested in digging deeply into issues. Instead, Bobby becomes the victim of rampant secularism. A nasty lawyer (Andrea Logan White), who proudly admits she's only going after him for the money, waves that wooden crucifix and snarls, "This cross is going to cost you."
The film's us-versus-them message is delivered via cardboard characters and overly sentimental narratives. The heroes are a terminally ill do-gooder (Brian Bosworth) and two preachers (an underwhelming Ted McGinley and a brief but lively Delroy Lindo), while the villains are an atheist doctor (Sean Astin) and Bobby's not-devout-enough wife, Elena (Valerie Dominguez). Cybill Shepherd and Lee Majors (yes, of "Six Million Dollar Man" fame) retain their dignity as an older couple who take in a single mother (Mira Sorvino) and her adorable daughter (Makenzie Moss).
"Do You Believe?" looks reasonably polished -- a scene involving several car crashes unfolds fairly skillfully -- but that won't be enough to entertain a wider audience. The movie is primarily interested in asking a question that it has already answered.