Directed by: Will Bakke
Starring: Alex Russell, Zachary Knighton, Johanna Braddy, Nick Offerman, Christopher McDonald
Believe Me introduces us to Sam, your typical douchey frat guy, who finds out he will not be able to graduate on time unless he comes up with $9,000. Wanting to go to law school in the fall, this little hiccup puts Sam in such a desperate position that, after finding out how much a friend raised for a church mission, he decides to make up his own mission to get him the money. After getting his fellow fraternity brothers - Pierce, the cocky rich guy, Tyler, the moral backbone of the group, and Baker, the guy who’s not quite ready to get in the real world - to join him in the charade, their bull-shitting starts piling up faster than they could have ever imagined when they are recruited to go on tour.
Once on the Cross Country tour with Callie, Ken, and Gabriel, they quickly realize they are over their heads, and after barely making it through their first show, the “God Squad” – the group’s nickname on the tour - take the time to learn about what they have been lying about. After getting in touch with their religious side, they start raking in the cash, but it doesn’t take long before they realize that they may actually be hurting more than helping. To an extent, they start caring. Not very much, but enough that they end up learning a bit about themselves.
All the guys have their moments, and are fine in filling each of their characters' roles, but the best scenes of the film are when they are all teaching each other how to be religious. The film is directed and edited really well, and all the actors have great chemistry, but there are some lulls in the plot that rubbed me the wrong way. It all seems too easy for the guys to deceive everyone. When Callie first comes in, she is asking questions, but once on tour, no one, with the sole exception of Gabriel, questions anything about them. And he is only on their scent because he feels his girlfriend Callie drifting away from him and towards Sam. Then, once everything starts falling apart, they are able to get out of trouble because of random chance. There never seems to be much urgency in punishing these guys who are stealing from people, and worst of all, the people who run the tour don’t end up doing much of anything about it. It just felt too fake.
Overall, I found most of the film engaging, but I think it is more because of the characters' charisma and less from actual plot and story. Perhaps the film would have been better if there were more laughs, because as I saw from the trailer, this is being advertised as a comedy, but sadly, the film was lacking a bit in this area. Moreover, if the ending was re-worked to feel more real, it may have been really good, rather than just good.
By Andy Comer