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Holy Irresistible

average rating is 3 out of 5


Patrick Foley


Posted on:

Mar 25, 2024

Film Reviews
Holy Irresistible
Directed by:
Pamela Corkey
Written by:
Andrew Shearer & Nicholas Sherman
Ian Gregg, Lea DeLaria, Tyler Graham

The quirks of small-town Christian America have come under increasing focus during and after the Trump years, where intolerances have evolved from unpleasant prejudices to all-out hate movements that view differences in lifestyle as an existential threat. Feel-good religious romcoms in the make of Holy Irresistible risk feeling outdated in 2024, but director Pamela Corkey and writers Andrew Shearer and Nicholas Sherman are wise enough to address contemporary issues in their film, allowing it to get away with an uplifting if somewhat forgettable tone.


College student Ivy (Ian Gregg) holds a bitter grudge with God, after his parents were killed by a careless Christian driver. His life consists of living with his dying Aunt Rad (an on-form Lea DeLaria) and hanging out with his best friend (and gay anarchist) Surge (Tyler Graham), whilst working as a restaurant server. One day, he meets local pastor’s daughter Sadie (Leah Merritt) and conjures a lie about being a devoted Christian in order to get close to her. But when Surge thinks of a plot involving the new relationship to bring down the local Church, Ivy is torn between loyalties.


Holy Irresistible takes a classic comedic premise and uses it to explore small-town Christianity, intolerance, trust, hypocrisy and forgiveness. The cast is filled with either stereotypes – (the innocent preacher’s daughter and her hard-ass preacher dad) or amalgamations of entire political beliefs (a gay anarchist, pot-smoking hippy teen). Yet the exploration and evolution of these characters shows a maturity on behalf of the writers. Through Ivy, facets of all kinds of belief system are confronted and critiqued, without the film ever becoming explicitly preachy or damning itself. Plenty of space is left for audiences to come to their own conclusions about the characters, their actions and their morals, with an enthusiastic tone that compromise and reconciliation can be found – a necessary message for America today.


Much of the comedy comes from Ian Gregg’s awkward and slippery attempts to pose as a devoted Christian. His subterfuge in the face of Sadie’s optimistic embrace of Christian values and her father’s interrogative suspicion around his daughter’s new interest leads to some amusing scenarios, and delivers enough laughs to satisfy viewers. Lea DeLaria is a level above as cancer-struck Aunt Rad, and her trademark boisterousness and bluster is amongst the film’s highlights.


As a low-budget production, there are some rough edges and underdeveloped story beats. Surge’s overall presence in the film feels like a convenient complication, appearing out of thin air whenever the story commands and plotting an ambitious operation to ‘take down’ his local church – though details of this plan and why Ivy is required feel sparse at best until they are required. The character’s existence in general feels like a convenience, and doesn’t sit well with the grounded and authentic tone of the rest of the film – even in deep rural America, not many Surges are around. Ian Gregg and Leah Merritt also lack a convincing chemistry to sustain the central romance. Sadie’s willingness to throw away her closest values feels unearned despite sufficient time trying to build the pairing.


Holy Irresistible is a surprisingly likeable and thoughtful film that subverts expectations and stereotypes despite its classic rom-com structure. It carefully balances criticism of religion with an argument that coexistence with the modern world is possible, along with change in the Church. It’s unlikely to leave a major impression with audiences, but there is ultimately a positive message to be found at its core.

About the Film Critic
Patrick Foley
Patrick Foley
Theatrical Release, Indie Feature Film
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