In God He Trusts

Dogma

The mortals are equally game for the ride. Carlin is polished and perfect as the inflated Cardinal Glick. (Who else could sell a modern-day crusade called Catholicism -- Wow!?) Fiorentino does fine work balancing the insanity of her quest with a lingering sense of doubt. Best of all Smith and Mewes finally get to stretch out their ongoing shtick beyond the limited appearances of Smith's previous movies. Smith's silent comedy is a smart arrangement for the director, but the revelation here is Mewes, who blurts out his rude tirades like an NC-17 Spicoli. There is a strong element of classic fool to Mewes, and Smith has written his friend some beautifully raunchy wisdom to spew.

The performances of Chris Rock (left), Jason Mewes, and Salma Hayek are heaven-sent
The performances of Chris Rock (left), Jason Mewes, and Salma Hayek are heaven-sent

All in all Dogma earns a lot of points for sheer invention, loses a couple for occasional lapses in execution, and comes out on top for wiggling spasmodically on ideological turf where most creators dare not go. In this case crude, piecemeal courage is certainly better than none at all.

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