Time Changer

-

Time Changer

While the slick and growing Christian-music industry successfully takes on the form and style of nearly every contemporary music genre, the stumbling Christian-film industry still seems to think that sticking Gary Busey, Margot Kidder, or Howie Mandel into an Ed Wood-style B-movie automatically makes it a crowd-pleasing Hollywood spectacular. Storytelling and nuance once again take a backseat to clumsy proselytizing in Time Changer, a Christian time-travel epic bolstered minutely by appearances from such semi-stars as Hal Linden, Gavin MacLeod, Jennifer O'Neill, and Paul Rodriguez. As the film opens in 1890, its bearded, Ned Flanders-esque protagonist (D. David Morin) wants his Bible college to endorse a new book urging readers to promote Christ's teachings without necessarily referencing Him as the source for all morality. Most of Morin's colleagues support the book, but MacLeod argues that it's immoral to teach Jesus' message without giving explicit props to the man behind it. Rather than win Morin over through healthy debate or sound arguments, MacLeod sends him hurtling more than 100 years into the future, so he can see firsthand where the teaching of morals alone has led. Catapulted into the present, Morin is predictably horrified by such abominations as an unmarried couple kissing on television, teenagers making plans to consume alcohol, a movie in which a man takes the Lord's name in vain, and, worst of all, the shameful absence of prayer in public school. (Damn you, separation of church and state!) It's possible to make a case that the U.S. is turning into a digital-age Sodom & Gomorrah, but Time Changer doesn't make it. Rather than set its blandly idealized 1890s against the current age of Eminem, Internet porn, and Boy Meets Boy, Time Changer ineptly contrasts a G-rated past with a PG present. The film is clearly intended as a righteous attack on the perceived satanic evil of secular humanism, but it sabotages its message by making the present seem tame and sensible, while its Jesus-loving protagonist comes off like a rigid, deranged Puritan.