DISCLAIMER: Mild spoilers abound in this review for Honk for Jesus. Save your soul.
You’ve no doubt seen them on TV or read about them online – famous evangelists who lead mega-churches while owning enough Lamborghinis and Prada suits to feed 5,000 people or more. They preach humility and benevolence while perched on a throne made up of generous “church gifts”.
Walk in: Honk for Jesus. Save your soul., Adamma Ebo’s directorial debut. It is a biting and pointed mockumentary that satirically targets these evangelical soldiers for the Lord. Ebo’s identical twin sister Adanne Ebo also produced.
Sterling K. Brown and Regina Hall star as Lee-Curtis and ‘First Lady’ Trinitie Childs, Atlanta’s megachurch leaders scramble to make a comeback after a scandal sparks a mass exodus of worshipers . So the couple invite a documentary crew to film their hopeful return as pillars of the Christian community.
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Despite Lee-Curtis and Trinitie’s insistence that the film crew omit specific dialogue and “unsavory” footage, we get a glimpse behind the heavenly curtain and carefully maintained footage of two seemingly perfect messengers from God.
We also see the budding rivalry between another church on the verge of becoming a mega-church, threatening to revoke the Childs’ position as the number one place of worship in Atlanta.
Brown delivers a multi-layered performance that is both heartbreaking and hilarious. Behind the theatrics, machismo and larger-than-life charisma, Lee-Curtis is simply human.
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Hall steals the show as First Lady Trinitie, and as the film progresses, we see that it’s her who holds the reins. Hall captivates, catching your attention whether it’s just a glance into the camera, her physique, or her witty stunt doubles.
Both actors have their fair share of comedic moments, even leaning into slapstick territory. Neither takes the comedy over the top, but lets it land naturally. Conversely, both performers spend their time in the dramatic spotlight, namely Hall, whose voluminous monologues are full of searing vulnerability and heartbreaking heartache.
Balancing comedy and drama easily isn’t easy, but Adamma Ebo’s brilliant script strikes that perfect balance, weaving lightness and darkness into a divine cinematic tapestry.
Honk for Jesus. Save your soul. uses this “documentary feel” with its cinematography. The camerawork certainly adds weight to every moment, from the humorous cutaways to the on-screen text introducing viewers to the documentary’s interviewees.
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Honk for Jesus. Save your soul. asks us to examine our idols while pointing the finger at the concept of for-profit religion that benefits the vain and tramples those who find hope in their faith.
We see many cracks in the Childs’ facade, including their crumbling marriage. Some of the most telling moments that shine a light on their collective hypocrisy take place when the camera is not rolling.
Honk for Jesus. Save your soul. is a hilarious satirical play with Sterling K. Brown and Regina Hall leading the way with two powerful performances. He reveals the darkest parts of humanity through his humor, and while you may not like the Childs, you will no doubt feel for them. Adamma Ebo knocks it out of the comedic park with sharp directing and a brutally funny script.
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Honk for Jesus. save your soul is now in theaters across the country. You can check when it’s playing in your area here.
This article was originally published on 01/25/2022.
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