Get this: Affleck and Damon reuniting on screen, the major-film debut of Morissette, and a budget under $10 million. What’s not to love? Well, lots of things, depending on your religious perspective. Smith’s script tells the story of a reluctant savior (Fiorentino) trying to stop renegade angels (Damon and Affleck) from scamming their way into heaven.
”I never thought it was anything but a pro-faith, pro-Catholic, spiritually uplifting d–k- and fart-joke movie,” says Smith, a practicing Catholic whose script also includes scenes with Fiorentino as a descendant of Christ working in an abortion clinic, and an offhand reference to Mary and Joseph’s sex life. Morissette, for her part, has a brief stint as God.
”Dogma” was originally made for Miramax, which is owned by Disney, but Miramax cochairmen Bob and Harvey Weinstein ultimately decided to avoid studio conflict by buying the movie out of their own pockets for $12 million and shopping it around. Though studios didn’t bite, indie distributor Lions Gate (”Gods and Monsters,” ”Buffalo 66”) is expected to become the film’s savior.
”Sure, it gets heavy at times, but it doesn’t go out of bounds,” says Lee, who plays Azrael, a muse trying to escape from hell. ”It’s not like ‘Primal Fear’ with a priest videotaping boys and girls having sex. This is George Carlin playing a Catholic cardinal. Come on, that’s very funny.” BUZZ FACTOR: 7
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