After seeing Dogma, I can see why Catholics hated it. While it isn't anti-religion, it is anti-organized religion, as there are many jokes about Catholics (one line says something like, "Catholics mourn their faith when instead they should be enjoying their faith."). I don't necessarily disagree.
As people know from past reviews, I am not very religious, and a lot said that there needed to be a good knowledge of Bible stories to get a lot of the jokes. Maybe that's true, but I still had a fun time watching. Basically, Dogma is two-sided. People who can take religion with a light heart can like it for sure, but I doubt anybody who takes it very seriously will hate its guts. My mother, on the other hand, who seemed to be enjoying the film, left for one reason, and that's the swearing. The swearing is where Dogma really suffers. I can understand how the swearing is meant to spoof religious morals, as everything from the black thirteenth Apostle (Chris Rock) to the two Angels (Matt Damon and Ben Affleck) swear all the time. The worst comes from the Prophets. While it is almost entertaining, the constant reminder that half the words in the script are swear words just isn't appealing. There is way too much swearing.
Dogma is by no means the funniest movie around but it does manage a respectable amount of comedy. The funniest scene in the movie is also the most slapstick, where a "Shit Demon" comes from the toilet and starts shooting poop at people. I haven't laughed that loud in a while.
The acting is pretty good as well. Linda Fiorentino heads the cast as a woman who is losing her faith but is then sent on a quest to stop two fallen Angels from returning to Heaven, thus causing the end of all existence. However, she is by no means a show-stealer. Alan Rickman plays Metatron, the voice of God who, with his sarcastic humor and whimsical voice is one of the funniest characters in the movie. Except for Chris Rock, who plays the neglected Thirteenth Apostle. He is just crazy in this movie.
Dogma is a pretty good movie, and it would be a better movie without all the swearing. However, anybody who is religious should probably stay away, since this movie basically says that the belief systems humans have are wrong.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.
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