Ultrachrist!: More Ridiculous than "Jesus Christ Vampire Hunter"
To say that "Ultrachrist!" is weirder than a movie featuring Jesus fighting vampires preying on the lesbians of Ottawa is really saying something. Besides both being comedies featuring Jesus Christ in the modern era, both stories look incredibly cheaply made, although unlike "Vampire Hunter," which looks like a throwback to the 1970s, "Ultrachrist" looks like a bunch of yutzes with a costume budget of maybe $100 gathered together and shot their film on random streets in New York City.
Needless to say, I loved it.
"Ultrachrist" follows Jesus(Jonathan Green), who has come to Earth in order to start the Messianic Era, realizing he can't connect with the youth of today, who sin unrepentantly. With the help of marketing genius Murray Klein and a cute seamstress named Molly (Celia Montgomery), Jesus comes up with the concept of updating himself to appeal to the youths of today: i.e., he becomes a superhero, complete with dorky Spandex outfit.
Unfortunately, God does not approve of the cheesy costume, considering it to be undignified. Therefore, the almighty sends the archangel Ira (Jordan Hoffman), patron saint of erotic massage, to steal the costume and get Jesus to preach the more traditional way. This, combined with the public's general bafflement at Ultrachrist and a Satanically evil opponent in the form of the New York City Parks Commissioner (Samuel Bruce Campbell), leaves Jesus with his hands decidedly full.
To start with one of the film's major flaws, it is incredibly unfocused. The film flows from one plot to another, with characters and situations introduced and then dropped or forgotten. This makes me think the writers didn't really think the plot through before they decided to shoot the film. This is especially notable in the ending, where about 45 minutes of plot is crammed into about 10 minutes of screentime.
But it also contributes to a rather loony tune to the story, which is rather charming in an odd way. This is helped with good performances by Green, Montgomery, and Hoffman. Green is winning as the dorky Jesus, who doesn't really get why people are weirded out when he asks them to accept him as a personal savior. Montgomery is utterly adorable as Molly, who takes in stride that her new friend is Jesus who gets stigmata when he's turned on (which seems to happen an awful lot when Molly's around). And Hoffman steals the show as the fast-talking, venal, yet common-sensed Ira, who looks like a fat schlub but whose hands can turn any woman into putty with his talented hands.
All in all, a fun yet incredibly silly film. If you can standard terrible special effects and a strangely paced plot, this movie could be right up your alleyway. If you are easily offended by the desecration of Christianity or whatever, this may not be the film for you, but if you can take your sugar with a lump of teasing, this is the story for you.