Movieline's Hollywood Life - 05/01/2004
"Mandy Moore has fun...and Macauley Culkin, Patrick Fugit and Eva Amurri bring considerable charm to their portrayals of a band of outsiders."
Rolling Stone - 06/10/2004
"SAVED! is a blazing send-off for first-timed director Brian Dannelly...whose laugh-laced screenplay is filled with complex characters that you can't laugh off."
Entertainment Weekly - 06/04/2004
"[The film] skewers hypocrisy and absolutism..."
New York Times - 05/28/2004
"It pokes satirical fun at the religious sentiment currently sweeping though the popular culture while at the same time partaking of some of the energy and idealism that the Christian youth movement has brought to the entertainment industry."
USA Today - 05/28/2004
"[N]ot only is SAVED! subversively funny, it is unexpectedly sweet."
Los Angeles Times - 05/28/2004
"Dannelly has a nice sense of detail and keeps his characters cleverly in play against one another. The young actors in particular do a bang-up job..."
Uncut - 11/01/2004
"There's some wicked satire in this debut..."
Brian Dannelly's debut feature SAVED! deftly blends indie-film edginess with a mainstream allure. Set in a Christian high school, the teen comedy follows a group of students who are all at different places in their lives. When Mary (Jena Malone) sacrifices her virginity in an attempt to heterosexualize her gay boyfriend, she is stunned to discover that she's become pregnant. With the help of wheelchair-bound Roland (Macaulay Culkin) and the school's only Jewish student, Cassandra (Eva Amurri), Mary must try to hide her pregnancy. But when her rival, the ultra-uptight Hilary Faye (Mandy Moore), finds out, all hell breaks loose. The film culminates on prom night, when a series of revelations put things in their proper perspective.
Dannelly and co-writer Michael Urban have produced a script that is a breezy, hilarious ride through the tricky waters of adolescence, and their all-star cast jumps into their roles with glee (most notably Moore and the scene-stealing Amurri). Rather than merely making jabs at the Christian right movement, however, the film preaches a universal message of tolerance and acceptance, giving audiences something deeper to chew on. The result is a surprisingly poignant film that positions Dannelly as a director to watch in the years to come.