C Me Dance
Being chosen by God is a wonderful thing. But it's not always fun.
Consider, for instance, Sheri.
Right from the get-go, we know she's special: As an infant, she survives a horrific collision with a demon-driven big rig—an accident that kills her mother and burns the car to a crisp. It's a heartbreaking way to start one's cinematic life but, with the help of Vince, her jovial-and-loving father, Sheri grows into a charming, vivacious young woman who loves ballet.
Indeed, she loves it so much that, for a time, her main ambition is to be selected for a prestigious dance recital. Time after time, she tries out (and, the film suggests, fails). But this year is her year. This year, she's going to make it. So she practices and practices, wearily crumpling to the floor over and over again, yet getting back up like a petite version of Rocky Balboa, until, finally—
She falls down and stays down. Turns out her collapse is due to leukemia, of which she's in the last stages. Sheri is, at first, understandably bummed—and she takes out her frustrations on those nearest and dearest to her.
"Please!" she hollers at Vince. "Just stop loving me!"
But like the trooper she is, Sheri regains her composure and becomes her charming, vivacious self again, and she and Vince begin to wonder whether God has anything for her to do in the time she has left.
Before long, Sheri realizes she's been given a supernatural gift—the ability to convert people to Christianity with a touch or even a look. And her town is suddenly brimming with the newly saved doing all manner of good deeds: Adult bookstores close. Worthless movies are shelved. Murder and rape rates plummet "89 percent" in two weeks.
"It's like God has chosen you," Vince says. "And if that's the truth? Man, this is going to tick off the devil."
Sure enough, Sheri begins to be stalked by a weird-eyed, trench coat-wearing behemoth who clearly is up to no good.
Greg Robbins, who wrote, produced, directed and acted in C Me Dance, is one of a fearless vanguard of Christian moviemakers trying to make a positive difference in the world of film. Robbins' passion for the project is palpable—both onscreen and in interviews—and his desire to reach nonbelievers through this mode of message is encouraging.
"If in a movie I do nothing but preach and pound everybody over the head with the Bible ... nobody is going to listen to me," Robbins told Plugged In. "They are going to pull up that wall, their eyes are going to glaze over like a shark, and they are never going to hear a word. But you wrap it inside of an entertaining genre like this, and you have their attention."
Robbins' Vince is a caring, compassionate dad riding a roller-coaster no father wants to board. He wants what's best for his daughter and is willing to sacrifice a budding romantic relationship (remember, his wife died in that car crash) in order to devote himself entirely to Sheri during her last months. And indeed, he's there for her—physically, emotionally, spiritually and even psychically.
Sheri, meanwhile, is as chipper a teen as you're likely to see this side of Mayberry. Sure, she's angry about the leukemia for a bit, but she snaps out of her bitter phase after five minutes of screen time and becomes a waifish force of natural goodness. She sublimates her own selfish wants and dedicates the rest of her life to God, allowing her special gift to flow with unmitigated gusto.
"You know, you're pretty amazing," Vince tells her.
"Thanks," she says. "Some say I got it from my dad."
When Sheri first learns she has leukemia, she shows little inclination to pay much attention to God. She is, understandably, irked by this sudden turn of events. When she looks at herself in the mirror and catches a glimpse of the cross necklace she wears, she suddenly turns angry and starts throwing things around her room. "Why is He doing this?" she asks. "Why do I have to die?"
But when Sheri accepts her fate, God starts His unusual work in her.
Sheri and her father both dream that one of her friends is drowning—a sign, Sheri believes, that her friend needs Christ in her life. First she invites her to church, but when that doesn't work, Sheri takes her friend to a bucolic hillside and says, "Ally, God is calling you." Then, when Sheri touches Ally's hand, it's implied that Ally suddenly catches a brief glimpse of Jesus getting nailed to the cross—and it makes her cry.
And so it goes. Whenever Sheri touches someone, that "someone" is suddenly and irrevocably moved by the sensation that Christ died for them. When Sheri and Vince realize there are far more people to "touch" than they can physically reach, they expand the message—first to a local battle-of-the-bands stage, and then to a 30-second commercial that all the TV networks (after their executives have been touched by Sheri) offer to run pro bono. In that commercial, she ruminates on sin and fear. And millions of lives are instantly changed.
Angelic spirits weave through Vince and Sheri's dining room chandelier at one point—an indication that their efforts are anointed by God—but Sheri's talents have drawn the attention of Satan, too. He shows up in the leather-trench guise of the Terminator, standing ominously in two places at once. (Interestingly, Peter Kent, the actor who plays Satan, was Arnold Schwarzenegger's stunt double for years, according to IMDb.) Later, he haunts Sheri's home, where Vince tells him that he doesn't have God's permission to be there.
"Yes I do," he hisses.
"Yeah, well you don't have my permission to be here," Vince says. That does the trick, oddly, and the devil soon retreats. And he does the same thing, later, when a pastor (in church) tells him to "get out of my house" and when Sheri calls him a "loser."
Satan ultimately hides himself behind a myriad of masks. He's a janitor. He's a dance instructor. And he even impersonates Sheri's dearly departed mother.
Much of the action takes place in Sheri's church. When pursued by the devil, Sheri and Vince roll out sleeping bags and sleep on the church floor. Sheri leads the congregation in a strange, silent altar call. She tapes her TV commercial in the sanctuary. And, indeed, that sanctuary starts seeing more use than it has in some time as Sheri's spiritual magnetism brings in so many new people that the pastor moves the services from the tiny fellowship hall into the larger auditorium.
Nothing beyond a mentioned "hot date."
As mentioned, Sheri's mother is killed in a violent auto accident. We don't see the impact, but we see the car afterward—turned upside down, on fire. The smoldering wreckage still remains the next morning.
Sheri is pursued and assaulted by a high school guy (Jacob) and his friends. Jacob grabs Sheri's hair and pins her to the ground. Sheri hits him in the face with something. Vince arrives and flies into the melee, fighting with some of Jacob's buddies. Before it's over, a crowbar has appeared and people are getting smacked with it.
Sheri's miraculous touch sometimes triggers a split-second cutaway in which someone hammers a spike into a bloodied wrist. The implication is that we're seeing Christ being crucified.
Crude or Profane Language
A pastor says that seeing so many of God's creations going to hell every day is "starting to p--- me off."
Drug and Alcohol Content
Other Negative Elements
Greg Robbins characterizes C Me Dance as a "chick flick with the devil in it," filling, perhaps, a unique niche in the marketplace. He believes that this film has the potential to touch non-Christians in a powerful way.
That said, there will be elements here (a swearing pastor, for instance) that'll make some Christians uncomfortable. Intended to reach the unreached, C Me Dance takes liberties with how most believers understand God's work as presented in the Bible: Sheri "converts" her flock seemingly through hypnosis-oriented magic, leaving everyone (including this reviewer) a bit confused as to what's just happened.
Robbins' explanation conjures images from another movie: "That overwhelmed me so many times," Robbins says. "And it came, actually, from watching The Passion of the Christ. The pain and at the same time, that love, that undying love. So I [started wondering] what if somebody felt all of that surging through their body as they came to Christ? What if that really happened?"
While miracles make their marks all over Scripture, it's telling, I think, that most of the conversions we read about are pretty pedestrian: Jesus talks with folks, reasonably and rationally, and slowly they begin to understand. The miracles? They may have opened the door. But individuals needed to choose for themselves whether to cross the threshold. In C Me Dance, it's much more whiz-bang than that. And that may, for some, build up unreasonable expectations of what Christianity really looks like in our day-to-day lives.
Robbins, of course, hopes it won't. "What we need to do," he says, "is find new ways of getting to the lost."
Other Belief Systems
Readability Age Range
Christina DeMarco as Sheri; Greg Robbins as Vince; Laura Romeo as Dr. Beth Crowl; Hugh McLean as Pastor Jeff; Peter Kent as The Devil
Greg Robbins ( )