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June 27, 2011

'Abstinence Never Felt So Good'

Christian sex comedy, 'The Waiting Game,' even features Ted Haggard in a cameo


Saying that Christians are "just starving for anything comedy," faith-based filmmakers are making a movie called The Waiting Game, a pro-abstinence film -- featuring a cameo from disgraced pastor Ted Haggard -- which writer-producer Emilio Martinez says is a response to crass comedies like The 40-Year-Old Virgin and Knocked Up.

“I love all the Judd Apatow movies," adds Rich Praytor, another writer-producer on the film. “So we wanted to take something like that into the Christian arena.”

The Colorado Springs Gazette describes the film as "basically a sexless comedy about sex. In it, a lovable loser gets dumped by his bride at their wedding. Heartbroken, he dives back into the dating scene with a vengeance, determined to lose his virginity before he walks down that aisle again."

Ha ha, yuk yuk. Seriously? The laughs are cringe-worthy -- including the one involving Haggard. After the film's protagonist says he's sexually frustrated and that he's "just going to do what I want. It's not like it's going to wind up on the front page of the newspaper," Haggard, crippled by his own sex scandal, overhears the conversation from nearby and says, "Hey buddy, I wouldn't do that if I were you."

Are we ROTFL yet?

At least a blogger at Friendly Atheist thinks it might be funny -- though not necessarily as intended. "The trailer makes it seem like the guy is getting married for the sole purpose of getting laid," writes Hemant Mehta. "Great moral lesson, right?" And then: "If they really intend for this to be a movie with the moral lesson that everyone should wait until they’re married to have sex, then I predict it’ll be unintentionally hilarious and atheists will have viewing parties just to mock it."

Judge for yourself here, and watch the trailer below:


Lord, deliver us from Christian filmmaking.

"Christians are starving for comedy." True.

"Christians are starving for good comedy." Truer.

"Christians are not starving for sloppily shot, poorly acted, unfunny comedies." Truest.

The art of cinema speaks a certain language that Christians try to speak yet... it doesn't work. While I admire and respect their intentions, Christian filmmakers have to know that if they want to make an impact in the cinema culture they must abide by the rules, else they will be ignored and laughed upon. I've studied this, since I'm studying to be a film director.

Actually the trailer kind of made me snort. Yeah it looks stupid, but no stupider than "Knocked Up."

Seth - the "art of cinema"? These filmmakers make no higher claim than to make a Christian equivalent of "Knocked Up." You think "Knocked Up" has anything to do with the "art of cinema"? Does "Knocked Up" "abide by the rules" to "make an impact in the cinema culture"?

The Haggard part was brutal, though. Although thinking back on it, the sheer stupidity of including such a scene is almost comical.

Thanks for the comments. Comedy doesn't reach everyone. We created the demo trailer to show potential investors what the story could look like. We also did it for under $200 using local actors. We used Ted Haggard because cameos seem to be a trend (The Hangover, Dodgeball).

Once we get our funding in, we'll be using professional actors and a Hollywood director.

The hardest part of this process has been "Christians" bashing us for trying to pull this off. We're doing the best we can. Plus the writer of this article never talked to us and got our thoughts. He read a bunch of blogs and wrote this article blind.

Hopefully, when this is released in theaters, you'll see the fruits of what we've been trying to do.

All the best,

I will admit that the true test is for people to see the movie and go from there. Then people can make their evaluations based on the whole move and not just form what they saw in a preview. Accept criticism when it comes. Hopefully it will be constructive but honest.

Rich, thanks for jumping into the conversation. It's not unusual for bloggers to blog what other bloggers are blogging without talking to the source. That's all I'm guilty of here. As for the trailer being a DEMO, man, I had no idea. It looked like the real thing, and at the top of the YouTube page that includes it, it says in big letters, "The Waiting Game Trailer." I suggest changing that to, "The Waiting Game DEMO Trailer" to avoid any confusion.


mark moring

Also, you could get in trouble for using that music without a proper license/payment.

Hmmm. This is ridiculous. I think I may just have to watch it. Hope it gets made.

Rich, although I do appreciate the sentiment in your efforts here, honestly the haggard cameo made me feel like I needed a shower after the trailer. The ick factor here there s unreal and I'm afraid the only people this will appeal to are the same ppl who indulged so much in the Facing the Giants saga.

Well, I guess this is what happens when this is your motivation to make a movie: 'I love Judd Apatow movies. We wanted to take something like that into the Christian arena.' And: 'We used Ted Haggard because cameos seem to be a trend.'
Art requires originallity. The Apatow movies work because the makers are talented writers and filmmakers, with original ideas. It's understandable if you don't agree with their morals (I don't, mostly), but you can't compete by copying the films and just 'adding some Jesus'. Why not make something good and original stemming from your own worldview? Or better yet: find something else you're good at and go do that. Filmmaking is a real craft, please leave it up to the professionals. If it's your goal to communicate Jesus, there are other, better ways. Propaganda disguised as art or entertainment makes people feel like they're being cheated. And in the end, no one ever buys it. Christians will often say things like: 'the world' is bashing our stuff because we're Christians, but the truth is, people just bash stuff that is very poorly made.
And if you really do want to make movies, why not follow some film classes first? There is a lot you can learn in even a few classes. Judging from this demo trailer, there is just not enough talent available at this point.
Besides that, I'm quite alarmed by the moral the film is trying to communicate: getting married so you can finally have sex? That's a good thing? In that case, actually Knocked Up may have had a better moral.

Maybe the moral can be this guy trying so hard to get "laid", fails, actually gets married, and the morning after the first time they have sex he says "So now what do we with the other 23.75 hours in the day?"

Physical intimacy is such a small part (timewise) of an actual relationship, but in so many Christian guys eyes is idolized to this pinnacle of undetermined awesomeness...

For $200, I'd say it was pretty good, definitely had me chuckling a couple times. With a proper budget and resources (director, producer, writer, etc.) I think it has some potential.

Regarding the moral of the story, slow down folks, since this is just a trailer hard to say what the point or message is. Maybe in the end he realizes sex isn't the main thing or what should drive us to marriage, falls in love with a girl and gets married for the "right" reasons (whatever those are)?

There is a problem I suggest here; we don't have 'Christian' coffee or 'Christian' tea; we can't eat our dinner in a 'Christian' way. So, why 'Christian' movies? What does that mean exactly? Movies made by Christians, or movies for Christians? Or movies made with a Christian theme, or what? Not being critical here, just being honest. Some Christians do listen to 'Christian' rock music and so on, but I suspect that many Christians just listen to secular rock music, and watch secular movies, and eat out at secular restaurants. Trying to live as a Christian often means that we live in a secular world, surrounded by secular people or in secular families or secular communities full of people who may have no interest in Christianity. We can shine out by holding fast to our faith, in whatever circumstance God has placed us.

So awkward and humorless. Was this 'movie' suppose to entertain or send a message? The only minimally chuckle-worthy part was the religious girl with road rage.

Regarding the moral of the story, slow down folks, since this is just a trailer hard to say what the point or message is. Maybe in the end he realizes sex isn't the main thing or what should drive us to marriage, falls in love with a girl and gets married for the "right" reasons

Dear Laughing, you can break the rules. Lots of people are tired of seeing abstinence mocked and stupid ideas about sex and marriage from Hollywood. The messages conveyed that sex is expected at the onset of a relationship is bull. That's not real life, and its not religious or old-fashioned to care about your health, or avoid being forced to live off 1/2 your paycheck for 18 years because of child support and still not be able to see your kid, or abortion. Help treat the cause. Hollywood knows its influence, yet still chooses to have no ethics about the stupid ideas they sell to our young people about sex, and no regard for the aftermath. I'm looking forward to seeing the show.