“Fireproof”

Fireproof

By Jae-Ha Kim
Amazon.com
Theatrical release: September 26, 2008

A feel-good drama, Fireproof has a strong agenda: stay married, lead an honest life, and let your faith in a higher power help guide you.

A still boyish-looking Kirk Cameron (Growing Pains) stars as Caleb Holt, a mercurial-tempered firefighter whose marriage is on the rocks.

He clearly enjoys his status as a hero, but it comes at the expense of his marriage.

His wife Catherine (Erin Bethea) is tired of being along in their relationship and wants him to devote more time to their family. When she points out that he has worked 43 days straight–three days longer than his required time–Caleb says, “That’s doesn’t mean I have to stop.”

To a certain extent, the film examines whether Caleb can stop. In the finite sense, of course he can. All he has to do it pack up and head home. But emotionally stunted to a certain degree, Caleb can’t.

The third film by brothers Alex and Alex, Fireproof is the siblings’ most polished feature.

Cameron does a fine job of making Caleb real and believable, even when we’re not always liking him. Though saddled at times with maudlin lines, Cameron adds emotion and range to his role.

There is a not so subtle theme that the Holts–who at the beginning of the film are agnostic–needed religion to save their marriage.

Clearly, Fireproof believes in its agenda and was made with the Christian audience in mind. Whether secular audiences will fall under its spell as well is debatable. But no one should walk away from the film offended.

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