Reviewer: Laura J. Davis
Altar Egos is the story about a church pastor determined to see his church grow. He decides to do the unthinkable and change the church Christmas pageant which inflames the elderly choir director, Mary Margaret (played by Sallie Wanchisn), who encourages the choir to go on strike. And honestly, the entire church should have been happy that happened because the choir was tone deaf. But for reasons I still can't comprehend, this church and their pastor "needed" the choir. But the Pastor and Mary Margaret continue to butt heads on more than one issue and it is clear that Mary Margaret not only runs the church, but she hates the pastor and will do everything she can to get rid of him. The environment was so toxic one wondered why Mary Margaret went to church in the first place. But Pastor John (played by Robert Amaya) has a few tricks up his sleeve and isn't willing to give in to the bossy woman so quickly. He wants to know why she is so stubborn and because he believes the church needs to grow and change he sets out to get to know her and prove to her that he is right. The results are sometimes hilarious and in the end endearing.
While the movie does have its moments and is family friendly, it does need some improvement especially in regards to the makeup. During the film, the Pastor encourages his son to disguise him as an elderly man, but he also forces his son to conceal himself as well and together they use deception (a very un-Christian thing to do) to learn why Mary Margaret is so nasty. This was the hardest part about the movie for me to believe and unfortunately, it was most of the movie. It was hard to believe because the makeup job was so incredibly bad. You could clearly tell they were wearing masks and yet we are supposed to believe that the people they interacted with didn't notice their real hair peeking out under wigs, or the makeup that is smeared all over their faces, or in one scene the flap of "skin" coming unglued. This movie desperately needed a makeup artist, and I wondered why one wasn't employed. Maybe it was the intent of the director to make the makeup look bad. I don't know. But it distracted me throughout the entire movie because this was in no way believable. It is also why I gave this movie three stars.
Despite that, the movie did have its moments in the messages of forgiveness, loving the unlovable, and the real biggy in churches today - change versus tradition.
I am sure many Pastors will be able to relate to this movie. It might be something to put in the church library. Pastors do not have easy jobs. With congregations that are growing, everyone has an opinion, and everyone wants their way. Those resistant to change will dig in their heels and become like Mary Margaret. But as Pastor John gets to know Mary Margaret beneath his "disguise" he realises he is mostly to blame for her behaviour, making the ending of this movie a bit of a tear jerker.
A good choice for a family to watch together or for a church to watch together (some members may even see themselves in it) and you can win a DVD copy directly from the studio to add to your home or church library. Visit here to enter, the contest ends August 29.