|Directed by||Alex Kendrick, Stephen Kendrick|
|Written by||Alex Kendrick, Stephen Kendrick|
|Starring||Kirk Cameron, Erin Bethea|
|Music by||Mark Willard|
|Editing by||Bill Ebel|
|Distributed by||Samuel Goldwyn Films|
Fireproof (2008) is "an action-packed love story" about a firefighter "on the brink of a divorce." starring Kirk Cameron. It is the third film released by the Sherwood Baptist Church in Albany, Georgia. Produced on a budget of just $500,000, Fireproof rocketed into fourth-place its opening weekend on September 26 to the 28th, earning a prediction-surpassing $6,804,764 and the second highest per screen average in the top 10. The film broke the $10,000,000 gross mark on Saturday, October 4, 2008, the second day of its second week in theaters, and remained in the top 10 films nationwide. Fireproof also surpassed the lifetime earnings of its predecessor, Facing the Giants, and moved into the top 5 Christian films by earnings according to the Box Office Mojo website. "Fireproof" went on to earn $33,456,317 at the box office, making it the most successful independent film of its release year. The movie was released to DVD and Blu-ray on January 27, 2009, and became the top third retail seller and the #5 rental its first week as well as becoming the #2 bestseller on Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble. It is also currently available for screenings in churches nationwide with an inexpensive one-year license available from the "Fireproof" website.
The film's story follows the lives of Caleb and Catherine Holt, a couple whose marriage of 7 years has grown cold and nears the breaking point. Caleb is the captain of the city fire squad and his day-long shifts often leave Catherine home alone and him with no desire or energy to do work around the house. They have grown apart and the little interaction they share anymore amounts to snide comments and angry exchanges.
One night, their dissatisfaction with their marriage explodes with Caleb verbally lashing out at Catherine while backing her into a wall. Catherine breaks down and says she wants a divorce. Caleb calls his father and tells him the tragic news. His father drives to the Holt's house the next day to talk with his son. He tells Caleb to hold off on the divorce for forty days and that he will send Caleb something in the mail.
The package turns out to be a hand-written book called "The Love Dare," which contains forty insights into marriage, tips on how to express love and biblical verses. Each chapter is to be read, the advice and actions suggested followed, one a day for forty days. Caleb attempts to use the book, but finds his half-hearted attempts ignored or rebuffed by his wife and soon loses hope after only a few days. The couple's problems continue, compounded by Caleb's addiction to internet pornography, bad advice given to Catherine from her coworkers, and a flirtatious doctor Catherine meets at the hospital. All seems lost until Caleb's father provides Caleb with some critical advice about love.
One of the themes of Fireproof is that parasites need to be destroyed. When Caleb feels tempted by an online pornography advertisement, he decides to get rid of his computer. He takes a bat to the monitor and computer!
- Caleb Holt - Kirk Cameron
- Catherine Holt - Erin Bethea
Liberal, anti-Christian backlash
Unsurprisingly, the Christian-bashing American left did not take kindly to a biblically-based, positive, uplifting, pro-Christian, pro-marriage film with no sex or swearing.
A reviewer on the far-left Onion website stated, "Cameron acts like a childish jerk, even in the reconciliation phase, and the underlying reason is that he—and the movie—hates women." Note that the reviewer didn't use the character's name, but Kirk Cameron's name, making the comment a personal attack upon the actor himself.
On the Rotten Tomatoes website, many of the reviewers who hated the film were highlighted using their sarcastic, obnoxious and anti-Christian comments about it. Some examples include:
- "It's one of the funniest films I've seen all year and that was obviously not the intention. This was made for elderly folk who watch Oprah and Dr. Phil and only see 2 movies a year."
- "Fireproof stops becoming relatable to us all and only to the already, or easily, indoctrinated."
- "As a companion piece to a Bible study group this may have some merit, but it doesn't belong in a theater."
- "The writing and directing Kendrick brothers, Alex and Stephen, have raised blandness and narrative predictability to the level of high art. "
- "Fireproof isn't merely preaching to the already converted; it's helping to further alienate the unconverted and the skeptical."
- "With the production values of a straight-to-video cheapie and the script of a mediocre soap opera, Fireproof is good for just about one thing: dousing whatever flames might be left in your marriage."
- "An evangelical bid to transform Satan's headquarters -- the multiplexes -- into ministries of religious healing between handfuls of popcorn, for Christian faithfuls. Though the actual target audiences are the sinners more likely to frequent blockbusters."
- "People like Kirk Cameron apparently require Scriptural instruction about how to not act like a complete **** to your wife."