Movie Review – Grace Unplugged (2013)

Director: Brad J. Silverman

Stars: AJ Michalka, James Denton, Kevin Pollak, Michael Welch, Shawnee Smith, Jamie Grace

18 year old Grace (Michalka) is the daughter of a reformed rockstar, and the two of them play in their local church. However, Grace wants to be more than just a Church singer and when the chance for stardom comes calling she goes against her parents’ wishes, but is it everything she dreams of?

Grace Unplugged gets off to a rocky start with a lot of daughter/father angst. The arguments do nothing to endear me to the characters and yet it’s testament to Michalka that she’s able to redeem the film somewhat. I enjoyed her performance greatly, but that’s about all I liked.

The film has a decent message at its core but its lost in the ridiculous way it presents the world of Hollywood. Grace is painted as the good Christian girl, wide-eyed and innocent, who is then exposed to the vagaries of Hollywood. There’s the sleazy manager who uses his silver tongue to tempt Grace, the Hollywood hunk who only wants to get in her bed, while the good Christian boy brings her cookies from his mother. Her idol tells her to use her body, to sell herself if she wants to make it to where she wants to go, and it just becomes cartoonish. I mean, I get that L.A. isn’t exactly a place for saints but this is completely over the top.

The message of staying true to oneself is admirable but Grace Unplugged seems to see it as an absolute – either you give in and throw away your devotion to God, or you turn your back on the sinners and stay in Church. There’s seemingly no middle ground and it just seems so blinkered and narrow-minded.

The songs are okay, Michalka is good, but other than that I can’t recommend this.

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