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I laughed till I cried (really)
Zorro-315 January 2005
I always thought the phrase, "I laughed until I cried," was just an oxymoron. Until it happened to me. I watched Dogma: the funniest movie I have ever seen. The movie seemed designed specifically for my warped sense of humor. It was an incredible mesh of the high-brow and the low-brow.

It had one character who was extremely foul-mouthed, and kept making up hilarious obscene phrases. It also had a lot of perceptive, biting (and very funny) theological and social commentary.

For me, it was sort of like being tickled hard in the ribs for about an hour. When I reached the breath-taking climax of the film, the resolution was such a shock and was so unexpectedly emotional and I was so sore from all the laughing, I actually burst into tears. Now, dammit I am a grown man. I never do that. Not even for anything real, much less a movie. But it happened.
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Smart, Funny, Intriguing........
fostex30020 January 2000
I have always loved Kevin Smith's style of directing and this film has re-affirmed my belief that he is one of the top directors in the film industry at the moment. Dogma's topic was a very sensitive one and could have been misused but Kevin Smith has dealt with the subject perfectly. Anyone who has critisized Dogma for being offensive has really not understood the film. Dogma is full of excellent moments, not least Alanis Morissette who I thought was fabulous in her small but important role as 'God'. All the performances were excellent and the actors complimented each other superbly. Overall this film has a mixture of everything and its underlying message is one which should reach everyone.
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simply fabulous--kevin smith rocks!
revsonya15 May 2001
While both funny and frightening, this film is more than just a comedy with gratuitous violence and (bad)-language. It's a theological reflection...and a call to the Church to focus on things that matter (like living life to the fullest, helping those in need, honoring and respecting all, expecting respect in return) rather than those that don't (like...well, dogma [doctrines/church laws] or any belief that causes us to "draw a line in the sand," condemning to hell or perdition any who disagree with us). As I watched it (the first and all subsequent times), I felt sure that the movie was written by someone who really loves his church -- but is smart and aware enough to recognize its shortcomings, its blindspots, even its failures and hypocrisies. Rather than simply leaving or ignoring or dismissing it, Smith chooses to enter into dialogue with it, using the potent medium of film to do so. One can only hope that the church--not just Roman Catholic but all branches of it-- takes him up on his call to conversation.

Not to be missed in the film, on a lighter note, are the introductory disclaimer and the "Thank Yous" at the end. Smith thanks Elaine Pagels, for God's sake -- who knew anyone in Hollywood read contemporary, feminist theology? What a welcome revelation....
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Chesterton lives!
zahasj15 June 2000
Another vote from a cradle Catholic who was not remotely offended by this movie. Not that some of the negatives mentioned by other posters here aren't true -- yes, a lot of the humor is gross, yes, the F-word is overused, yes, its criticism of organized religion is less stinging that you'd expect (though that in itself is a slightly foolish expectation, given that the writer/director is himself an active member of an organized religion). And yes, if you're not Catholic, much of the movie is a little foggy, under-explained, and not very engaging. That last one I definitely agree with; I seriously doubt whether I'd recommend the film to a non-Catholic at all.

But, oh, God, I LOVED it, serious flaws and all! It's a huge chaotic mess with about sixty different trains of thought and philosophy, from the ecstatic to the scatological, slugging it out for dominance, and in its very sloppiness there's a sense of anarchic, exultant wonder I've never seen in a movie before. The only two things like it that I can think of are Thornton Wilder's play "Skin of Our Teeth" and G.K. Chesterton's amazing joyous fever dream of a novel "The Man Who Was Thursday", both of which are works by people who may or may not have faith but who definitely have a good idea. Or several dozen of them, and who just run with them wherever they go. These works are big chaotic messes, but in that way they are mirrors of Creation, the mother of all big chaotic messes. In all these works, just as in the real world, love and joy and beauty and filth and cruelty and despair are constantly tumbling over and bleeding into each other; the one universal rule is that everything is absurd, that the human race is the most absurd thing of all, and that this absurdity can be the catalyst to either suffocating grief or a kind of hilarious wonder.

If you go into "Dogma" expecting a trim and tidy theological comedy of manners, you'll be sorely disappointed. If you're looking for something with the same filthy gorgeous lunacy of existence itself, this is it.
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Highly recommended for fans and future fans alike
Anthony-1527 September 1999
Dogma is firmly rooted in Kevin Smith's View Askew world so fans of his other films will not be disappointed. However, it also expands on the direction he took in Chasing Amy by dealing with subject matter and concepts that are personal and thought provoking. Dogma goes beyond the "dick and fart jokes", which are reassuringly present, and gives the viewer something to think about.

The film deals with thoughts on religion, Catholicism mainly, in a way that pokes fun at the institution but does not deride it. Dogma is by no stretch of the imagination an anti-Catholic movie. It embraces religion and points out the potential and actual problems that can occur within any religious institution. The film's comments and contents are definitely meant to be taken with a grain of salt.

The cast is great and there are many instances of hilarious viewing, usually Jay and Silent Bob, as well as very sensitive and expressive moments from the various actors.

In the end, Dogma is a thoroughly fun and thoughtful viewing experience that both old and new fans will enjoy. A movie outside the typical fare that is worth spending your money on seeing.
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Great concept, adequate execution, likable movie
Movie_Muse_Reviews25 February 2008
"Dogma" isn't the kind of comedy that most people will find themselves holding onto their guts during. It's more the second-long "ha!" kind of comedy.

That simply means Kevin Smith's writing is clever enough to the point where you will be pleasantly shocked by some of the conversations and events of the film and think it all rather amusing and humorous. It's not hilarious, it's just clever and a bit funny.

The premise is rather interesting and surprisingly from a more fantasy-esquire genre than Smith traditionally dabbles with. Loki (Matt Damon) and Bartleby (Ben Affleck) are more or less fallen angels that have found a way back into heaven. They must be stopped or the world will come to a screeching halt, so a seemingly random protagonist named Bethany gets charged by God to stop them. Simple, but the slick, nonchalant approach to religion keeps the satire rampant.

The film does spend a lot of its time explaining itself, which isn't too bad considering Smith keeps the explanations to-the-point and allows the characters to stay interesting in the process. Chris Rock, who plays an apostle, and Alan Rickman, who plays God's messenger/ voice are two of these characters that are both good in the film and Smith has allowed to maintain their character's edge despite lines upon lines of explanation.

Getting from point A to point B and so on is not the film's strength. The physical events that take place are ultimately boring and unexciting. It's the moments along the way, the conversations and the philosophy that come about, that make it successful. Affleck's character raises a lot of interesting religious questions about humanity and his conversation with the protagonist on the train is rather insightful. In general, Smith has used Bethany as a way to keep the viewers skepticism of the plot active in the film. She keeps it from getting preposterous. In general, the whole cast is very talented and their characters well written, which keeps the film interesting.

It's not the funniest or most interesting comedy in terms of plot and the sequence of events, but "Dogma" is a smart concept that ultimately results in a sharp satire and some great thoughts that scrutinize religion in a way that never seems too out of line.
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A Religious Comedy
Matt-37119 November 1999
I am a huge Kevin Smith fan and after seeing this film I can say that it was everything I hoped it would be, and a little bit more. It's extremely well written and directed. The film has the same great comedy we're used to from Kevin Smith, but he shows that he has another dimension that I don't think many people thought was there.

Jay and Silent Bob have their biggest role so far. Jay has some of his laugh out loud funniest one liners yet. But what really makes this a great film is that it is genuinely thought provoking.

There are religious people out there who will criticize this film as being anti religion, anti Catholicism, when it is anything but (well, a little anti Cathlic maybe). The central theme to the film is that there is a God, but not the God that most people know (or think they know) or believe in. The characters in the film are trying to get the message across that people have changed the original God, man has made God into the image they want him/her to be, made their own religious rules, rules that God never intended. From a strictly biblical standpoint, Smith is right on, which is not something that can be said about many films dealing with religion. And isn't that the entire point to Christianity, that it's based on the bible.
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A winner on many counts
lastliberal29 April 2007
It is not often that you get to see a group of stars that you like in a funny movie that also makes some interesting points.

Matt Damon (The Bourne Ultimatum ), Linda Fiorentino (Unforgettable). Severus Snape, Jay and Silent Bob, Salma Hayek (Frida), George Carlin, and, of course, God (Alanis Morissette), all join to make this irreverent and funny movie.

The premise is so interesting, and the fact that it is set in New Jersey is so appropriate, whether intentional or not. As a recovering Catholic, I remember the teaching of the church that I could basically sin all I want, but if I repent at the end, I will be saved and go to heaven. New Jersey is reputedly the home of many undesirable criminals with vowels on the ends of their names - maybe some of them even relatives of mine - and I know they are predominately Catholic. I am sure they are counting on this "escape clause," just as Loki and Bartleby were counting on the same thing.

Yes, while I was laughing, I was also carefully looking at the images {the golden calf (money) we worship} and listening to the lines. There is a wealth of material in this movie and it was thoroughly enjoyable.

One to see again and again.
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p_monkey1 December 1999
While held back from being truly stunning by some pacing issues and some minor script awkwardnesses, Dogma is an enjoyable trip from beginning to end. Smith plays textures like a cardshark - from action sequences to philosophical debates to stoned one-liners to dramatic monologues, the action flows remarkably smoothly for all of the twists that are thrown at it. I was also extremely impressed by the tasteful execution of the more violent scenes, where the graphic aftermath may be shown, but the action happens off-camera. One rough point was that a great deal of dialogue came of as expostiory - there was simply such a massive back-story (2000 years of religious history...go fig...) that it seemed at times that the plot had to fight its way through the background information. One particular shot also irked me - in the Bethany/Metatron scene in the cafe, every time the camera cut back to Bethany, she seemed to be in the exact same pose, and break it in a very similar way. I wonder if this was intentional, or if it was a continuity issue? The casting of God was simply inspired - her appearance was actually one of the highlights of the film. Towards the very end, there were some surprisingly touching moments (of course rendered through Smith's unique style), and the closing scene felt like something right out of a good ol' 80's movie (that's a good thing!). Issues and all, a truly enjoyable film!
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One of the Ten Best of 1999
K-Slicer7 May 2001
This movie is one of the funniest movies of all time. Kevin Smith puts together a movie that defines 'satire' almost perfectly. The only flaw that this movie has are how long it is. Even though the movie is almost two and half hours, it delivers enough philosophy to keep people thinking long after watching it. "Was Jesus Christ black?" and "Is there someone out in the world that is a direct descendent of Mary and Joseph?" are very thought provoking.

The satire elements in this movie are well done. I thought the edition of George Carlin as the self-centered Cardinal Glick was an especially nice touch. I am a George Carlin fan and I have heard his routines about taxing the properties of the Catholic Church. I think the issues with race and women in the Bible were dealt with in a fine way as well. The dialogue was smart and witty and the cast did particularly well. Jay and Silent Bob took the movie with their wise-cracking, foul-mouthed wit and humor. I am also a huge Kevin Smith fan and he incorporated elements from all of his other movies.

This is the best Kevin Smith movie since Clerks. 10 out of 10.
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An intelligently written satirical comedy
freemantle_uk27 August 2013
Dogma is one of Kevin Smith's most controversial films, a smartly written comedy that takes jabs against the Catholic Church and religion in general and it is very much a cult classic which my friends from college raved about.

Bethany (Linda Fiorentino) is a catholic woman who works in an abortion clinic who is given a mission from Metatron (Alan Rickman), the Voice of God, to go church in New Jersey. She has to stop two fallen angels, Loki (Matt Damon) and Bartleby (Ben Affleck) who have found a loophole that they can re-enter Heaven: but if they do that they would destroy all of existence because God's word is meant to be infallible. Fortunately (or unfortunately) Bethany is joined by Jay and Silent Bob (Jason Mewes and Kevin Smith), the thirteenth apostle, Rufus (Chris Rock) as Loki goes on a killing spread and a demon called Azreal (Jason Lee) tries to make Loki and Bartleby success in their objective.

Dogma is a sharply written comedy that is constantly funny. Smith makes a dialogue driven comedy filled with comical exchanges and great character inactions. Smith's trademarks of film related dialogue and jokes at the expense of Jay, but the best parts is the satire of religion and his showcasing of knowledge of Catholicism, combined with clever lines about the religion.

Sometimes Smith does stand on his soapbox about religion, but for the most part the satirical jabs are one target. We get satire from all angles from a Cardinal trying to get the church to appeal to younger worshipper, by doing it in the most patronising way, including a 'hey Jesus' and comic book art for its title 'Catholicism Wow'. There are criticisms about how The Bible has be rewritten to suit certain groups, with the Bible being whitewashed (though ignoring that Jesus and the apostles would have mostly have been of Middle-Eastern appearance) and women having villainous roles.

Affleck and Damon were great together as the fallen angels, having great dialogue and discussions, particularly in the beginning and a scene in a boardroom for a children's character. Alan Rickman was also a comedy highlight, playing against type as the Voice of God, someone who has great lines and adds serious emotion depth when needed. He added gravitas and gave the role his all.

Kevin Smith has often stated that he thinks he is not a particular good director, but with Dogma he is able to keep a fast pace, he knows how to shoot the dialogue sequences and can add a scene of tension when needed (i.e. the boardroom scene). Smith is competent with the action sequence at the end and he knows how to use his bloodpacks. The general look and tone of the film where Reaper (which Smith directed the pilot) got its influences from.

The film does occasional take a misstep, such as Smith being at time very preachy and there is a demon made from faecal matter which was very immature and out of place for a smartly written film.

On a final note, Howard Shore of the Lord of the Rings fame provided the score for Dogma and much his other work he gives Dogma a top score. He uses plenty of choir beats and singers to add to the experience.

Dogma is a highly enjoyable comedy that is intelligently written and very funny. It is a film deserving of its cult classic status.
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Thou Shall Not Stop Laughing
Desertman846 October 2012
Warning: Spoilers
Would you believe that the last living descendant of Jesus Christ is a woman working at an abortion clinic in Illinois? And that she's been sent on a holy mission with two minor characters from Clerks and Mallrats as her guides? Prepare to suspend any and all disbelief as you watch the religious satire Dogma.It is written and directed by Kevin Smith, who also stars in the film along with an ensemble cast that includes Ben Affleck, Matt Damon, Linda Fiorentino, Alan Rickman, Bud Cort, Salma Hayek, Chris Rock, Jason Lee, George Carlin, Janeane Garofalo, Alanis Morissette, and Jason Mewes.

Bethany has been disappointed in life and has found her faith severely tested after her husband leaves her when she discovers she cannot have children. So Bethany is all the more puzzled when she's approached by Metatron,a grumpy angel.Metatron wants her to help him stop Bartleby and Loki, two fallen angels who were ejected from paradise, have escaped from exile and are heading to New Jersey. If they are able to pass through the arc of a certain church, it will prove God is fallible and the world will come to a swift end. Bethany has no idea what to do or why she's been given this project, but she heads out anyway, with her assigned assistants Jay, an appallingly rude former dope dealer and self-styled ladies man, and Silent Bob. Along the way, Bethany picks up more helpers, including a celestial muse named Serendipity and Rufus, who claims to have been the 13th apostle and that Jesus owes him 12 dollars.

It is about the importance of faith, if not organized religion.I echo Kevin Smith's statement about this film.It is a talky, farcical comedy of cosmic errors is clever. But it's clever in a deeply juvenile way.As God would probably say to the viewer,"Thou Shall Not Stop Laughing".Overall,it is a push-the-envelope coarse, thematically ambitious, and most dangerously self-consciously respectful and thoughtful on matters of faith and religion.
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Another testament to Smith's banality
model-ford23 January 2011
I haven't seen Dogma for years but was prompted to write something after being forced to sit through Clerks 2.

I chose Dogma because it was the movie that plunged the nail in the coffin for me in regards to Smith's surprisingly successful career.

I know Dogma is a big thing for Smith fans but it was such a hackneyed, lazy, low brow, self indulgent turd that I truly can't understand why.

Did I expect too much after the hilarious (when I was 16) Clerks? In comparison Dogma is trite, forced, laborious and worst of all unfunny.

The problem with Smith is, and this infects all his movies, he thinks his mundane observations on life can sustain not just two or three hours, but a whole catalogue of films.

Clerks worked because it was fresh, amateurish, and somewhat fearless. It was the first time audiences were exposed to Smith.

And he came out swinging - this is what I think about censorship/porn, jocks, religion, love, the system. It was a movie about rebellion and this resonated with a lot of white 15-year-old males.

But you can't make movie after movie on the same premise. Filmmakers are meant to grow (Cohen brothers) and take audiences with them.

In this sense those 15-year-olds who followed Smith, and who he owes his career to, have been cheated. His thoughts on Christians (and I'm an atheist) are the same he had 15 years ago. Yet he still has his faithful followers shell out to see them writ large, every couple of years.

His growth, or lack of it, as a filmmaker is outpaced by his budgets. When $10,000 (Clerks) suddenly becomes $10 million (Dogma) and yet all you get are the same gags, surely audiences have a right to feel cheated and short-changed.

I feel sorry for Smith. I'm sure sitting through one of his films is as frustrating and unpleasant for him as it is for me.

Here is a filmmaker who tried to branch out (Jersey Girl) but failed catastrophically. This forced him to revert back to dick jokes and resort to Hollywood mechanisms – sequels, star cameos – to sustain a career. The very things he thrashed against in Clerks.

He wants to be taken seriously as a filmmaker but at the same time uses gay jokes and bestiality to get a laugh. While this is quite obviously a sign of a director lacking vision or inspiration Smith claims these devices are his way of keeping it real, a kind of 'hey I'm still the same guy I was 20 years ago, success hasn't changed me'. Damn straight.

And that's where my real annoyance with Smith comes from. If he just put his hand up and admitted to being lucky because he built a career off one film and now gets paid to do what he loves, I'd be happy.

Instead he is a conceited git who tries to pass off his films as something more than uninspired garbage.

I see his latest film is about a cop (Bruce Willis) whose baseball card is stolen. Oh the hilarity
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Disappointing, botched, amateurish attempt at a loaded topic
floatmyboat24 September 2007
Watching this film was long overdue. I had heard of Kevin Smith's cult following and had experienced the wonderful ride that Chasing Amy was. To add to that, the concept behind Dogma was pretty darn cool. The cast was big, the canvas huge, and the agenda enormous. But none of it could salvage this sinking vessel. All the king's horses and all the king's men, and so forth.

Kevin Smith's greatly touted skill has been his dialog. He is arguably among the finest pens that write long-winded tirades, witty comebacks, and insightful observations. Remarkably, Dogma showed an utter lack of sophistication or tact. The moments that made me laugh could be counted on the fingers. Of one hand. Of E.T. I have seen the man in action not more than two days ago, when he had come our university for the third run of his An Evening with Kevin Smith show. I just can't imagine how someone who had our rapt attention for five whole hours could come up with embarrassing dialog like in this film. The trite and corny lines almost overloaded my Cringe-o-meter.

The whole affair had a thick coat of amateurism on it. No doubt, films such as Clerks and Chasing Amy aren't known for their polish and slickness, but this film has the sensibilities of a high-school production. Blocky edits and choppy transitions make an already tedious film all the more unbearable. The characters are mere sketches, with a pretense of a background or a personality. It almost seems like everyone's just being themselves while knocking off a few beers and reading out the lines half-assed. It is hard to believe anyone took anything seriously on the sets.

Dogma begins with a few disclaimers about how it is supposed to be humorous and not intended to offend anyone. I seriously doubt anyone who sees the movie would be offended by it. Except perhaps fans of Kevin Smith and the discerning members of the audience. The "philosophy" presented in the movie is so thin you could have it instead of the Atkins diet. I have heard deeper words from people who have put a gallon of beer behind them. I am sure some (or most) of the ideas have come from such evenings of drunken revelry.

This is a film without redemption. Quite unbecoming for a film that (almost) embraces the teachings of Christ.
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Even my Dad liked this film!
rubabyuk2 November 2003
And that really says something as he is really quite picky! I love how this film totally highlights every single bad thing about the Catholic church without offending anyone, maybe if Monty Python had done the same thing Life of Brian premieres wouldn't of had protesting nuns outside the theatres! I think the infamous Smith has made a fantastic film here with an even better cast who really understood that he was trying to hint at the future of Catholicism (not exactly Buddy Christ, but you get the picture) and point out that we do mourn religion and not celebrate it. Well worth watching, even if you don't get the religious stuff, Chris Rock, Jay Mewes and Kevin Smith are too funny! More power to Alan Rickman, he had the whole Sheriff of Nottingham thing going again!
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kookytree7 October 2003
I'm not sure what I find harder to believe- the idea that people actually found this film funny, or the fact that it is considered controversial. This is "satire" at the level of the Carry On films- when a film uses a giant "poo monster" for supposed comedic effect, you know your time is wasted on it. I watched this expecting to chuckle, instead I came out feeling nauseated and patronised. At least half an hour of the film -AT LEAST- is spent with characters explaining the plot background and details to other characters. Can you say yawn? This is the first Kevin Smith movie I've seen and the man is the biggest overwriter I've had the displeasure of coming across. The characters just cannot shut up! This would be fine if the dialogue was witty or insightful, but instead it's lots and lots of swearing (the word "f~ck loses it's already minimal impact after the fiftieth time you hear it in one scene), and supposedly deep religious discussions that are immature and sound as if they were written by a twelve year old who just became interested in theology.

It's near impossible to see who this film appeals to- Smith shoots for pleasing all and ends up satisfying none. Those who enjoy the childish, "Dude Where's My Brain" jokes will no doubt be crushingly bored when the characters decide to sit and talk inanely about something unfunny -AGAIN, while those who like the pathetic attempts at religious satire and discussion of the Catholic Church will cringe at the afore mentioned poo monster and a succession of equally puerile kindergarten comedy.

The film is nowhere near as clever or anarchic as it thinks it is (indeed it has incredibly tame messages), and the characters are obnoxious. The protagonist -a female, distant relation of Christ- whinges so damn much you want to slap her overacting face. Indeed, pretty much every person in the film overacts- only Alanis (the only person with no lines- significant?) and Salma Hayek (who's a decent comic performer- `That's why he's The King, and you're a schmuk') come out with dignity intact. I should also say Silent Bob's expressions are pretty amusing, as are the odd one liners in Jay's rants. However, while Ben Affleck isn't as bad as he can be, he's still pretty terrible, and Matt Damon does an impressive impression of wallpaper throughout. When the film shoots for drama it's embarrassing. When the two fallen angels have an argument and one compares the other to Lucifer, we're supposed to take it seriously, but the poor writing and acting make it an utter non-moment. At one point, the protagonist, after another annoying rant (which I'm assuming is Smith's amateurish way of getting across how his characters feel, as this is an insanely whiny bunch of people) actually runs, drops on her knees in the rain, and screams up the sky `WHY, GOD!?!?!?! WHHHHHHHHHHHY!?!?!?' This was one of the only genuine laughs I got from the film, it's an utter cliché and this supposedly ironic, clever-clever film tries to use it as drama: worrying.

Again, I ask, who actually found this controversial? Bible Belt Christians? Devout Catholics? Those same groups find 'HARRY POTTER' controversial, it's hardly an achievement. The only other thing I could see as being controversial was the pushing of the pro-choice abortion movement, and while I am pro-choice, such plugging made me uneasy, as pro-lifers are demonised in the film somewhat unfairly. If Smith is going to enter the abortion debate, which is inadvisable in the first place for a film most likely to appeal to wannabe `alternative' folk gagging to prove their anti-establishment leanings, it should at least be fair and give the points of both sides. It's also obvious that the man directing is a Catholic himself, and the film comes across as just more self-loathing, rambling apologies from a liberal, middle-class, white male for the perceived wrongs his ancestors have done to the world. If there was any satire in the film, I didn't catch it- was the scene where God made all the bodies disappear satirical? Worryingly, it appears not. Besides, satirising the farcial exploits of the Catholic Church is about as hard as exhaling carbon dioxide.

The film, though, isn't a total waste of time. There are some nice points- the boredom of church-going is articulated adroitly, for example, and there are one or two funny moments. The conceit of the relative of Christ not being able to have children and thus losing faith in God is actually a great idea, but it's poorly executed in the extreme. The dialogue/writing is terrible for the most part (the characters talk too much about the story and/or themselves, and do too little), the acting equally dire, and -most criminally- it's simply not funny. `Dogma' commits the ultimate sin: for a movie packed with such dumb jokes, it sure takes itself seriously. If you want to watch a comedy, a satire, or even a discussion of religion or theology, there is surely better stuff than this.
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More scatology than eschatology
son_of_cheese_messiah26 April 2011
If someone said to me "hey I know this film is infantile and vulgar but I like it" I'd think fair enough. Tastes in comedy can differ widely. I have nothing against those who find disaster movie funnier than I do, although I personally thought that was better than this film. My problem is how such a film can be described as "smart and thought provoking", how it can attract some fairly major Hollywood talent and can receive some glowing reviews? Is society now really so dumbed down that even critics are applauding a stream of toilet humour interspersed with dime-store wisdom about religion?

"Dogma really makes you think".
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Possibly the worst film I've ever seen
rpmohriii14 November 2003
The notion that adjectives like "great", "thought provoking", "genius" or anything of the sort is laughable. This film is simply unwatchable.

Upon seeing this film in the theatres I was fairly impressed with earlier Kevins Smith efforts Chasing Amy and Clerks, additionally I consider myself to be somewhat of a "recovering Catholic" with many of my own criticisms.

During my viewing I couldn't believe how much my butt hurt or how often I looked at my watch.

I can't think of one redeeming quality of this film whatsoever. First and foremost, unlike other Smith films it is completely unfunny. If poop jokes and rehashed Carlin routines strike you as original or funny get some taste. The pacing of this film is a snooze fest. It's such a mess that I'd go so far to say that it wasn't directed, as opposed to poorly directed. The lighting, blocking, and acting would be more at home in a gradeschool video project. To even utter the word cinematic to this film would leave Orson Welles rolling in his grave. Seriously.

What strikes me as more ironic is the idea that this movie "makes you think" or is insightful in any way. It's hopelessly juvenile! This film makes overly obvious and pre-adolescent points about Christianity and offers nothing interesting whatsoever. It's alleged groundbreaking criticitiques were unclear at bes. If you find this insightful...sit at a local IHOP and watch stoners have delusional conversations for 3 hours...that's the sum total of this movie experience. What religious points was this film evening trying to make? One wonders if anyone who found this provoking has ever seen films like Wings of Desire, The Last Temptation of Christ, WickerMan...or even the Exorcist.

Moreover, I can't understand the controversy surrounding this film AT ALL. This is a prime case for the argument where unwarranted controversy only stirs up interest in an undeserving cultural piece of "art".

To me this seems like another example of our ever-lowering standards and lack of intellect in this culture. If this passes for insightful and/or funny it's no wonder Jim Belushi is prospering.

Simply extremely boring, uninteresting, unfunny, amateurish and unnecessarily long movie. Through film school and a lifetime of viewing thousands upon thousands of titles this easily ranks among the worst efforts I've ever seen. Walk-out worthy, not even enjoyable on an ironic level.
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One of the worst films I have ever seen.
jono-2013 November 1999
Ok lets start off with the good..... it had funny moments but thats about as far as it goes. I have read some reviews and I can't believe how some people think that this movie is thought provoking. It is far from it, nothing but cliches and many jokes, some funny, some not. We've heard all these bible/catholic comments before which makes this movie totally unoriginal. This movie was totally idiotic, if it wern't for some of the comedic moments this movie would have no value whatsoever. I am not a religious type so don't cast me off like that, this movie was horribly written and just boring at times. If you want a dark comedy, go see Very Bad Things which is very original, unpredictable and a riot. Dogma just doesn't work at all.
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A bizarre, sophomoric artifact of middle American culture.
Wangdu3 November 2000
Dogma is one of those cultural oddities that surely merit reams of postmodern analysis; some day a clever graduate student will make her name with a Dogma-tic dissertation. Unfortunately, as a piece of entertainment, it is far too creepy to warrant most viewers' attention. The movie continually oozes a bizarre mish-mash of bloodthirsty divine retribution, inanely anti-intellectual pseudo-theology, and conservative values shrouded in flimsy pretension to open-mindedness. It would seem that the film wishes to revive sincere interest in an unadorned, anti-institutional version of "original" Christianity. It succeeds only in portraying Christianity as a barbaric, simplistic and primitive appeal to middle American mush. Of course, some may believe this portrayal to be accurate, but that makes it no less disconcerting.
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Look out Below
Lady_Targaryen16 November 2005
Warning: Spoilers
Dogma is a very funny movie and criticizes a lot many of our societies's taboos,the catholic church and many of the facts that we consider right. Everything, of course, with lots of jokes and irony.

In the present days, with the popularity of the famous book called 'Da Vinci's Code', we can see many similarities,like the fact that the bible could be changed for the people who translated it, for example. Or the strange fact that they don't show all the years of Jesus's life,opening the controversial doubt about his relationship with Mary Madalene, and the possibility of having kids.

But the coolest thing in Dogma, are the silly things,like Alanis Morissete playing God, Metraton saying he is 'anatomically like a Ken doll', and the thirteenth Apostle,never included in the Bible because he is black.

I recommend this movie for everybody who wants a good time!
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Murdoch5841 June 2007
First of all, I want to say that I'm Catholic and I was not offended by this movie. I'm a firm believer that one has to laugh at oneself throughout life in order to keep one's feet firmly on the ground.

The reason I wasn't offended was because this movie's script/dialogue/everything was so unbelievably bad that the only emotion it conjured up out of me was a new level of boredom. I don't know who told Kevin Smith he was funny, but whoever that person is needs a roundhouse kick to the face.

Almost every one of Smith's punchlines is a swear word. That's funny if it's limited (I have no problem with swearing in comedies; Midnight Run and Kiss Kiss Bang Bang are two of my favorite movies). I could have tolerated it if the movie actually had some amusing humor in it, but,alas, there was none.

The only part that made me snicker slightly was a joke ripped off from Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. The only part where I laughed was when the main character sprayed Alan Rickman with a fire extinguisher.

Of course the kicker came at the end where Smith tries to play the "serious" card and lay out some "honest" criticism of Catholicism. Generally speaking, I don't like this method of criticism (whatever the subject) because it prevents the audience from critically analyzing it. Before you can fully process what's been said, Smith moves to another topic. Granted, one could do some research after the movie to determine the validity of Smith's claims, but please don't try and tell me everyone did that.

If a real humorist had tackled this subject, perhaps something could have been made of it.
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Extraordinarily overrated
jdlund18 April 2004
Overrated would be my review for most of Kevin Smith films. I am still not sure how on Earth he has such a cult following. The only film of his that was good, was Chasing Amy and even that had its flaws. He also has the pleasure of directing a film that is on my top five worst films list which is Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back. Be that as it may my problems with Dogma are a little different than most of his films. The first time I saw it I kinda liked it. The second time I realized how bad it was. First of all choosing to satarize the catholic church, especially in film form, is like writing a love poem. It's been done so many times you had better do something new or different, Smith does neither of these. I think of the films of Buneul, Felini, certainly the Monty Python stuff, certain Woody Allen films and so forth and that's what I think of as good satire of the church. There are countless others that did the subject so much better than here. The biggest problem that I had with Dogma is that the film had no idea what it wanted to be. It kept switching from semi-serious film to farce. Normally I don't have a problem with genre bending, but here it shouldn't be done. If this film was a farce than all the serious elements are out of place and pointless. If this film is suppose to be more serious, say just a normal variety of comedy(for an example "As Good as it Gets"), all the farcicle elements become really asinine. Take the reasoning for why the universe is going to be wiped out of existence. If this is not a farce(and I mean Marx Brothers, Monty Python brand of farce) then that idea is so ridiculous it doesn't deserve to be thought of. First of all if we are focussing on the catholic church, perhaps we should consider what they actuall believe. According to the bible(not a bible nut, just happen to know this) angels can't be redeemed. Period. No confession, no archway, they are angels and not humans. According to this films premise, if Lucifer walked through the archway he would be able to go back to heaven. Of course he'd have to cut his horns off, I would imagine going with Smiths wing thing. In this case, why didn't Azreal do it? He was also an angel cast down, why couldn't he walk through the arches and undo all of creation? They are not human beings and therefore not subject to the same rules. End of discussion. Too much of this film is trying to make a "serious" commment on religious dogma, and it tries to do so by ignoring what the catholic church and the bible actually says. Couldn't Smith come up with something not totally idiotic to hinge the film on? Since this is the base of the films story I must say that this film is completely pointless. Outside of that the Jay and Silent Bob stuff here is really annoying and their pressence is pointless and forced. Then of course there was the scene where Kevin Smith showed how bad of a writer he is when he gets out of the S*** Demon sequence by using odor spray. This is moronic and worthy of a Junior High school laugh. Even S*** Demon repelant(ala Batman style) would have been funier. The truth is, Smith knew of no better way to get out of the scene and he is a very sloppy writer. He isn't much better as a director as there is absolutely nothing visually interesting about this film, and that is the directors MAIN job. We are after all talking about a visual medium. In the end, seriously don't waste your time with this, it is horrible.
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Wow this was terrible
youaresquishy21 November 2007
Linda Fiorentino, the star of this film, put on one of the very worst performances I have ever witnessed in any large budget American film I have seen.

I also think Matt Damon, Ben Affleck, Chris Rock, Salma Hayek, and Jason Lee were all pretty awful. Even Jason Mewes and Kevin Smith were no good in this one.

The script is just terrible. I'm a big Kevin Smith fan, but almost every line in this one is cringe-worthy, and especially those said by Linda Fiorentino.

The whole story is just a jumbled mess--it seemed very much made up on the fly as they went along.

And wow is it long. And boring. And not even a little funny.

This film seems to be trying to be a critique of organized religion on some level, and so, I want to make it clear that I am not saying negative things out of some loyalty to some religion. I'm not a religious nut--just the opposite. I'm completely nonreligious. Religion is the single strangest thing about humanity, to me.

I have no understanding of any positive thing that's been said about this film. It is one of the very few films I have given a 1 rating to. I can't believe one of my favorite directors made something this awful.
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Over-rated and Under-cooked
Squrpleboy15 January 2002
This film is one of the TOP 5 worst movies I've ever seen. From an incredibly long, rambling story-line and pacing, to sub-standard acting (even by actors I've previously, and subsequently, enjoyed and/or admired in other films [Matt Damon, Ben Affleck, Jason Lee, Linda Fiorentino, Salma Hayek, Alan Rickman]), to its silly attempt at "deep thought" and imposing a certain "enlightenment" on the audience. The film was quite simply, BORING. Most humor was completely degenerative (I'll site the giant monster made of bubbling, human excrement, for example!) and completely un-original in plot (to anyone who's ever read a book of theological philosophy, science fiction or even a Marvel comic-book). I always get the feeling that Kevin Smith is winking at his audience, smiling and thinking to himself, "Look at how CLEVER I can be!" and "Laugh Here, Now." This film in particular seems to be a circus trying to present itself as a stage-play, and in my opinion, not hiding the fact very well. "Dogma" reveals itself with an over blown message and theatrics at their worst. (...And, quite frankly, his characters Jay & Silent Bob, are a "one- liner" stretched way beyond the punch-line.)
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