Story: Miles (Ja Rule) has a lifestyle that seems straight out of a major motion picture, expensive cars, an impressive mansion, a thriving business, and his pick of the ladies he encounters, but his path to this point wasn’t a smooth one. While his business is on the up and up now, he was able to achieve this kind of legitimate success thanks to his less than legitimate past. Miles was a high level drug trafficker and he stacked cash from his drug running operations, so even though he has moved on, he remains somewhat of a marked man. He is always under the watchful eye of law enforcement, with the DEA on the hunt to bring him down for his past crimes. When he meets Vanessa (Adrienne Bailon), he falls for her right out of the gate, but when she reveals he is deeply religious, he takes pause. Can he finish turning his life around and even if so, is it too late to avoid the DEA’s wrath?

Entertainment Value: I had to see I’m in Love with a Church Girl, a Christian movie that assembled quite a colorful cast, including Ja Rule in the lead. I hoped the cast would be enough to keep this at least a little entertaining, but I also have a soft spot for these religious b movies, so I hoped this would provide some unintentional laughs, if nothing else. The narrative is predictable and derivative, which is no surprise, but this one is also and drawn out. At around two hours, this movie could have been trimmed to 80-85 minutes with ease and lost little in the process, as so much of this picture is filler and it really drags down the experience. If you took just the most outlandish or heavy handed moments, you could get a “so bad, its good” b movie out I’m in Love with a Church Girl, I think. The dialogue can be humorous, as it is so heavy handed and over the top with religious righteousness, while the journey of Miles is hilariously overdone as well. In those scenes where the unintended humor shines through, there are some laughs to be had, but there’s more doldrums than camp here, sadly. So it is hard to recommend, but if the premise and wild cast appeal you, there’s at least a little to like.

The cast is the main reason I took the time to watch I’m in Love with a Church Girl and I have to think others will be lured in as well, as this is an eclectic blend of talent. Ja Rule as the lead in a heavy handed religious movie is hilarious and his performance is about what you’d expect, wooden and ineffective, but fun to watch. I have no idea why he was given the most prominent role, unless his name was expected to move product, which I don’t believe happened in this case. But the stunt casting got me to tune in, so perhaps it will work on others as well. I was surprised to see 80s action star Martin Kove here, but no, he doesn’t advise anyone to break the rules to win a karate tournament. I wouldn’t have minded a random, over the top action scene, however. The cast also includes Adrienne Bailon, Vincent Pastore, Michael Madsen, and Stephen Baldwin.

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