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Film review: 'Facing Giants' way too preachy

Published: Friday, Dec. 15 2006 12:23 a.m. MST

FACING THE GIANTS — ** — Alex Kendrick, Shannen Fields, Jason McLeod; rated PG (adult themes).

The religious proselytizing in the football movie "Facing the Giants" is about as subtle as a blindside hit by a 300-pound defensive end.

Writer-director Alex Kendrick plays the coach of a perennially bad high school team. Beset by problems in his personal life and on the brink of being fired if his team doesn't start showing some promise, he cries out to God in anger. He has an epiphany that leads him to quit diagramming plays and start delivering locker-room sermons.

This smacks of one of those sports movies in which a variety of game footage was slapped together without concern over whether it makes sense. Three consecutive plays result in losses — including a quarterback sack that should be good for at least 10 yards — but when the team breaks huddle, they're still at the original line of scrimmage.

The movie ends with an affirming message about the need to give your all so that, win or lose, you can walk away with your head held high. But in a season in which "Invincible" and "Gridiron Gang" already have laid claim to the title of inspirational football movie, this looks like an also-ran.

"Facing the Giants" is rated PG for thematic issues. Running time: 111 minutes.

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