Most helpful critical review
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
PREPARE YE FOR DISAPPOINTMENT
on 8 April 2015
This is very much a curate's egg of a film - by turns cloying & irritating then suddenly very moving!
I saw the original London production several times, and that initially was quite serious, but as the run continued & the cast changed, it became increasingly reliant on silly voices and TV catch-phrases, like bad pantomime. In the same way, this film's very likeable cast simply tries too hard - the frantic routines remind me of "The Monkees" TV show at times. But suddenly there are moments of great charm - notably the close harmonies of the lovely song "By My Side", always the show's musical highlight in my far-from-humble opinion.
Theologically it's very dodgy - why are John the Baptist and Judas Iscariot the same person, and doesn't all the happy-clappy, sub-hippie lovey-doveyness sit rather uncomfortably beside the uncompromising "fire-and-brimstone" preaching? And why, why, why is there no Resurrection? The stage show had Jesus leaping up to join the rest of the cast in a rousing encore of "Day by Day", but here...nothing. The cast just carries his body into the city streets. Symbolic of evangelism, perhaps, but couldn't they, say, have gone back to their everyday lives and looked up from time to time, only to see Him across the shop/office/cafe or whatever?
A missed opportunity when it was made, but worth buying for the well-sung songs, the nostalgia, seeing New York in a more innocent age, and the individual charm of the performers.