Organized religion takes it on the chin not just in Wolf, but in Blue Like Jazz. Also set in Texas, the Baptist-raised Don (Marshall Allman) is active in the church, appearing as a soldier for Christ in the Sunday school lessons and headed to a Christian college. But he decides to divert to Portland, attending a university where hippie-like experimentation is the norm. There, he befriends Lauryn (Tania Raymonde), a lesbian who has a crush on a girl who may not be as into her as she appears.
Based on a memoir by Christian writer and blogger Donald Miller, Blue Like Jazz is quirkier (and funnier) than its hipster-ish title would suggest. “Funny,” though, is a relative matter: Men running around town dressed as the pope and jokes about Don’s mom sleeping with the sexy Mexican yard guy are more amusing than laugh-out-loud hilarious. But this is a comedy with heart and, almost counterintuitively, values. Despite targeting religion with a mocking irreverence, a Christian message comes through — the kind gay people of faith have often fought for: One based on respect and acceptance, not judgment. Amen to that.
Two and a half stars. Opens today at the Cinemark 17.
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition April 13, 2012.