Chris Willman
June 14, 2002 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Joshua

type
Movie
Current Status
In Season
mpaa
G
runtime
90 minutes
Limited Release Date
04/19/02
performer
Tony Goldwyn, F. Murray Abraham, Stacy Edwards, Giancarlo Giannini
director
Jon Purdy
distributor
Epiphany
genre
Drama

We gave it a D-

When strapping stranger Joshua (Tony Goldwyn) strolls into a sleepy hamlet, able to hoist 200-pound logs and homespun aphorisms without breaking a sweat, it’s natural that the burg’s prettiest young widow (Stacy Edwards) would take a hopeful view of the smoldering glances he shoots her way. But he ultimately deflects her kiss, because he’s Jesus Christ. Not just in the way most guys consider themselves God Almighty, but actually Jesus Christ.

That’s the jaw-dropping premise of Joshua, a film that dares ask: WWJD, circa Y2K? Well, he’d be into carpentry (again). He’d peel off blues guitar licks to ingratiate himself with troubled teens. He’d use the word ”sucks” and say ”Take care” a lot. Judgmental priests who don’t share his view of the Bible as ”a love letter” (namely F. Murray Abraham, as a clerical Salieri) would feel his meek reproval. He’d raise the dead. And he’d act as a corporate shill; we’re told not once but twice that the Son of God orders Christian-rock CDs through the Columbia House Music Club. But mostly, the movie’s Messiah 2.0 comes off as highly amiable, slightly inscrutable, and mildly retarded. Christians sensitive to a reductionist view of their Lord as a luv-spreading Dr. Feelgood or omnipotent slacker will feel vastly more affronted than secularists, who might even praise God for delivering such an instant camp classic.

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