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‘Honk for Jesus. Save Your Soul’ Film Review: Regina Hall Elevates Satirical Evangelical Mockumentary


Sundance 2022: The targets of writer-director Adamma Ebo’s comedy aren’t always clear, but Hall’s performance consistently hits the bullseye
A strong ensemble cast, led by Sterling K. Brown and Regina Hall, does a lot of emotional heavy lifting in the otherwise lightweight mockumentary “Honk for Jesus. Save Your Soul,” a darkly comic drama about a disgraced mega-church preacher and his conflicted wife. Written, produced and directed by Adamma Ebo, “Honk for Jesus. Save Your Soul” never really goes anywhere unexpected in following Pastor Lee-Curtis Childs (Brown) and his painfully drawn-out road to a comeback after a sex scandal involving a group of teenage boys. As Lee-Curtis’ wife Trinitie, Hall provides the movie with its strongest emotional hook, as her performance suggests a lot about her conflicted character that Ebo’s scenario doesn’t fully consider. And by framing the movie as a fake fly-on-the-wall documentary — directed by fictional filmmaker Anita Bonet — Ebo generally directs our attention to the body language and physical tics that define her on-screen performers’ emotional range. Ebo’s ostentatious concern for and interest in Trinitie also gives Lee-Curtis’ narrative an essential immediacy and momentum. Bonet and her crew tend to continue shooting the Childs for longer than either Trinitie or Lee-Curtis wish they would, so we spend much of “Honk for Jesus. Save Your Soul” waiting for Trinitie either to get fed up or to just honestly address Lee-Curtis’s increasing desperation. His plan — or really, hopes — to re-open the Wander the Greater Path Baptist Church doesn’t look like much, especially given that many of his church’s parishioners have already moved on to the nearby Heaven’s House Baptist Church. So Trinitie’s frustration with Lee-Curtis understandably grows as Wander the Greater Path’s planned Easter Sunday reopening approaches, and Lee-Curtis’ confidence seems increasingly misguided.

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