How the hell has a Kirk Cameron marital drama landed in the box office top 10? Well, for starters, hell's got nothing to do with it, as the inexcusably popular Fireproof was produced by the Sherwood Baptist Church, a canny outfit operating out of Albany, Ga.
Dedicated to preserving the sacred covenant between a man and a woman before God, this comically misguided mess stars former Growing Pains goofball turned-even-goofier End-of-Days poster boy Cameron as a hardass fireman, addicted to Internet porn and prone to paroxysms of rage every time his long-suffering wife (Erin Bethea) asks him to do the dishes or pick up his own dry cleaning.
Incensed by such outlandish requests, the former Mike Seaver spends an enormous amount of screen time fulminating about "respect" and beating on garbage cans with a baseball bat until she finally comes to her senses and demands a divorce.
But his beatific dad (Harris Malcolm) rides to the rescue. Posing forlorn before a large wooden cross inexplicably located in the woods behind Cameron's house, Pa sells him on a program called "The Love Dare." Conveniently available for purchase on the movie's official website, this manual employs selected Scripture passages to make husbands do all sorts of crazy things--like offering your wife a cup of coffee or even asking about her day. People like Kirk Cameron apparently require written instructions on how not to act like an asshole.
Oh yeah, and at some point in this process you must also fall to your knees and beg for the forgiveness of our lord and savior Jesus Christ. Because you really need His help to stop being a complete dick to your wife.
What's fascinating about Fireproof, beyond the grassroots bulk-ticket-buying "Church Action Squads" that made it such a phenomenon, is that in no way do the spouse's feelings ever once enter into this equation. The film depicts marriage as a man's obligation to God. In retrospect, that new Bill Maher movie doesn't seem so crummy.
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