A Week Away, which is basically being advertised as Netflix's Camp Rock for Gen Z, holds off for about three minutes before the big reveal: It's a Christian movie. And not just any old Christian movie. It's a CCM (contemporary Christian music) jukebox musical featuring updated versions of hits from the likes of Amy Grant, Steven Curtis Chapman, Michael W. Smith, and Rich Mullins (alongside a couple anodyne original numbers). Well, how about that.

When I took on this assignment, I figured I would be bringing my Netflix teen trash expertise to the table (which I'm still doing, mind you), but now I get to flex a muscle I never thought I'd get to flex over here on Alternate Ending: I have a secret obsession with Christian movies. Movies made for Christians by Christians with whatever budget that a couple flyover state WASPs can scrape together over a weekend are an untold treasure trove for bad-good cinema enthusiasts.

And honestly, as Christian films go, A Week Away strays away from the evangelical and propagandistic. It's no Christmas with a Capital C or God's Not Dead. It's buffed to a Netflix-worthy sheen meant to appeal to anyone, as long as that anyone has patience to sit through a campfire singalong mashup of "Awesome God" and "God Only Knows" (the King & Country one, not the Beach Boys one).

A Week Away

One fun thing about a Christian teen film is that it's about as edgy as a globe, so the most outlandish crime they can have their bad boy commit is stealing a cop car and "trying to sell his high school on Craigslist." What footloose brigand is causing all this commotion? Why, it's Will Hawkins (Kevin Quinn), a recent orphan who has been bouncing from foster home to foster home, acting out by committing palatable crimes. When presented with the mind-boggling option of either going to juvie or going to camp for a week which is alternately referred to as a "summer," he makes the obvious choice. Just one thing: It's a Jesus camp. Run by Kristin (Sherri Shepard) and David (David Koechner) because known actors better lend their names to projects like this if they want those new kitchen counters.

Immediately Avery (Bailee Madison of The Strangers: Prey at Night, so that's a fun turnaround), the camp owner's daughter, catches his eye. Because he is a bad boy, he is instantly respectful and kind to her in every way, but he has a tattoo while he is doing so. Anyway, his new BFF, the nerdlinger George (Jahbril Cook), has a crush on Avery's BFF, the shy Presley (Kat Conner Sterling). Toss in a bit of intrigue about Will wanting to hide his past misdeeds from Avery, and we're off to the races. Time to sing "Baby Baby!"

A Week Away

In order to watch this movie, you need to be one of two types. You either need to be a Christian looking for good clean fun for the whole family, or you need to be the same kind of sarcastic secular monster that I am. If you're the former, you're probably not on this web site anyway, but go forth and prosper. If you're the latter, you'll probably have more fun digging into my personal favorite Wish for Christmas, but A Week Away at least delivers plenty of totally functional filmmaking between the more delicious opportunities for making quips with your friends.

The bottom line is that even if you're not Christian, A Week Away won't hurt you to watch, which is honestly a huge triumph for the Christian filmmaking community. The actors are reliable if not particularly impressive. The cinematography produces exactly one image that is beautiful to look at, and none that are ugly. And what the film lacks in commitment to challenging its (mostly white) ensemble's limited dance prowess, it makes up for with teeth-gritted determination to launch into a full scale production number at every available opportunity. It might be insipid, but it's certainly not boring.

A Week Away could certainly have been improved by leaning into the absurdities of its immensely improbable log line (and I will never forgive it for failing to include the one CCM song that's an absolute 10/10 ass-ripping banger), but as it stands it's a movie I had a medium amount of fun with. Which is probably about as much as the filmmakers deemed appropriate anyway.<

Brennan Klein is a millennial who knows way more about 80's slasher movies than he has any right to. You can find his other reviews on his blog Popcorn Culture. Follow him on Twitter, if you feel like it.