3 Stars - Wholesome
For those of us who live in the Christian community, we know that laughter is one of our most common social characteristics. Perhaps based on both the hope of our faith and the comic view that however bad things may appear, God is going to work everything together for our good, we have a lightness of heart that expresses itself in laughter. It is no wonder then that there is a whole cadre of Christians who use their comic skills within the church and a film would be made to showcase their talents. “Thou Shalt Laugh” is such a film. It is directed by Phil Cook and produced by Jonathan Bock and Hunt Lowry (A Walk to Remember.)
Hosted by Emmy Award winning actress and star of “Everybody Loves Raymond,” Patricia Henton provides comic interludes and introductions that reveal the need for a writer, but her acting skills and vitality are obvious. The seven comics each have their own style of comedy from impersonation to a talented ventriloquist. The comedy is clean but uneven as the varying skills of the comics come together in a humorous and enjoyable ensemble.
Though the film is made within a large church auditorium and one of the pastors sitting on the front row becomes the focus of some of the humor, the comedy is not focused on the Christian life so much as life in general. This works both ways in the film. As a film billed as seven of the funniest comics who are all Christians, it would have been a great opportunity to focus on some of the inside humor about Christian life. But the decision to not do so makes this a film with broader appeal, as any group will enjoy it.
The seven comics are Taylor Mason, Thor Ramsey, Michael Jr., Teresa Roberts Logan, Gilbert Esquivel, Joby Saad and Jeff Allen. In the DVD form of the film, there are some behind-the-scene moments that provide very little to the overall experience.
Though this is more of a television special than a feature film, it has our recommendation for an evening of wholesome laughter.
- What place does laughter play within your life? Do you think of Christians as fun-loving and full of laughter? Why or why not?
- Do you think it is a good thing for Christians to come together in their various businesses, entertainment, commerce, education, etc., or should we permeate the secular world with our skills? Why do you answer as you do?
- One of the comedians has a sarcastic joke about Jesus. Do you believe that Jesus can be a topic of humor? Why or why not? Are there certain kinds of jokes that are off-limits for a believer? What would those be?