Grace Unplugged Blu-ray Review
A young woman pursues her dreams of being a musician, but in order to do so, she sacrifices her core values. As a story line we’ve all heard and seen before, GRACE UNPLUGGED approaches the material in a much softer version, teaching the importance of faith while being suitable for the entire family. Unfortunately, this story line is too played out to have the inspiring impact the filmmakers intended to achieve.
As a Christian based film, GRACE UNPLUGGED will strike a chord with its target audience. The film keeps its message at the forefront while surrounding itself with some talent and quality production. Compared to other films within the faith-base genre, GRACE UNPLUGGED is a decent movie worth showing a preteen audience.
However, don’t we want better than that? While the Christian themed movie has come a long way, I can’t help but be critical of the screen writing. The story is predictable and bland. Most of the action is so cliche that it is hardly believable. Life’s struggles aren’t as easily layed out in such a formulaic outline nor do people usually verbally speak the overall themes. “I am your father and you will obey me,” might be a line that few people utter but when seen on screen it becomes eye-rollingly convenient. Let the action speak for itself. When looking at the meat and bones of one’s life story, perhaps it can be broken down in a simple manner. But if you soley focus on that and lose the details and intricacies that make each story their own, it becomes uninteresting.
Eighteen-year old Grace (AJ Michalka) leads worship service with her dad, a former rock star, at their home church. After her Father rejects an offer to make a comeback, Grace seizes the opportunity to take his place instead, singing her father’s famous single professionally. Ignoring her family, friends and faith, Grace leaves in pursuit of stardom but struggles with the compromises she faces, eventually realizing what is truly important.
AJ Michalka shines as Grace, creating a sympathetic character who continues to make poor decisions. Michalka is naturally charming and likable. Michael Welch (TWILIGHT series) also brings a grounded reality to the film and some surprising humor with his limited screen time. Overall, the performances are generally decent with the exceptional melodramatic moments from Grace’s parents James Denton and Shawnee Smith, but that’s more to blame on the poorly written script and dialogue. Kevin Pollak (A FEW GOOD MEN, USUAL SUSPECTS) gives a recognizable face and weight to the film as the music producer helping Grace make it big. It was nice to see some balance to his character that otherwise might be too villainous to believe.
When we get down to it, GRACE UNPLUGGED is simple and basic. In some circles that might be just enough to serve the purpose but if you are looking for a deeper connection with your movie and spiritual message, this one comes up short. I respect and admire director and co-writer Brad J. Silverman’s goals, but I pray that more Christian films will be made with a little more respect for its target audience, so we can set the bar higher for spiritual inspiration.
Video: (MPEG-4 AVC, 1080p 1.85:1) With a great production, the picture looks clean and neat.
Audio: (DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1) The sound was also adequate, balancing the levels clearly.
Own It: The Making of Grace Unplugged (10:55): This gives a little insight from the filmmakers and the people involved about what drew them to making the film.
Gag Reel (4:54): As usual, this is awful
Deleted Scenes (12:55): Eight scenes that are a bit redundant within the context of the film, providing information that we’ve already gathered. These were wisely cut as some were also over-dramatic.