The R.M.

R. M. stands for Returning Missionary, as in a member of the Mormon church coming back from his/her two-year mission. According to the church, one will receive blessings from all the good work done over the course of those years, and Jared Phelps (Kirby Heyborne, The Singles Ward) is looking forward to coming back to his life. He had a great time in, uh, Wyoming, and returns expecting to become engaged, set up with a job, and on his way to college. Well, nothing goes the way he expects in The R.M., a serio-comic look at adjusting back to normal life. Essentially, everything that can goes wrong does. Everybody expects him to be coming back a month later, so when he appears, nobody is there to welcome him, and even worse, everybody thinks he got sent back. Then, he discovers his parents moved, he lost his room, and his girlfriend dumped him. Of course, this means that he has no job and college probably will not happen.

The R.M. is by the same team that made The Singles Ward, writer John E. Moyer and co-writer and director Kurt Hale. In this miniscule subgenre of film, the two are blazing out a series of mediocre Mormon movies. These movies do not hit people over the head with religious preaching. Instead, they use religious values as part of their plot. The Mormon religion is a part of who the characters are. They think and act certain ways, and the movie respects this without 'telling' the audience how to live. The problem here is that there is so much Mormon culture, in-jokes, and cameos present that anybody who is not intimately familiar with the Church of Jesus Christ and Latter Day Saints will be confused.

For those who are familiar, The R.M. will not be that great a treat because it is so stupid. Hale and Moyer are dealing with a valid subject that could be the subject of a decent drama. However, they are familiar with comedy, so they stick with what they know. Sadly, the humor is so stupid and slapstick that only young children will laugh. They force Heyborne to endure all sorts of gentle humiliation, thinking it will get laughs, but actual laughs are rare. Most of the jokes are at a juvenile level, going for the quick laugh instead of anything more substantial. One of the few jokes that is a tad more sophisticated, and funny, is when Phelps is talking to two people who begin addressing the camera directly. He has no clue who they are speaking with, and looks around helplessly. Too bad Hale and Moyer used the exact same joke in The Singles Ward.

The only good thing in Phelps' life is Kelly (Britani Bateman), an attractive young woman who seems to be interested in Phelps. This means that Phelps likes her too, and becomes an emotional wreck every time he speaks with her. The one bad influence in Phelps' life is his childhood friend Kori (Will Swenson, The Singles Ward), who has slowly drifted away from the church. The Kori character's influence leads to a crucial crossroads near the end of the film, one that is completely moronic. Again, the situation is played for laughs, which both takes away any dramatic impact it may have, and any sense of reality. In other words, nobody feels any concern that Phelps may not emerge as good as ever.

Mongoose Rates It: Not That Good.
1 hour, 41 minutes, Rated PG for some thematic elements.

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