Habit Review – Bella Thorne Loses Her Religion. By Jan Kalina.
Habit is a strange beast of a movie. Bella Thorne plays Mads (originally a Corpus Christi gal but now stationed in the City of Angels), who is in love with Jesus ever since young age, is quite religious and her love for Jesus manifests in her dreams in a more sensual way as well… to put it mildly.
Now grown up she spends her day selling drugs. It’s a great gig, ya know? Running drugs for a washed up actor Eric. You party, you sell the stuff, money in the pocket. Life’s a breeze. Until one day the stuff gets stolen and the money as well. Now the three girls are in trouble, so is Eric as the drug kingpin Queenie is after him now.
Bella Thorne carries the whole film and she is a charm as always. Bella Thorne has been lately cast as the ‘mean girl’ type (the brilliant The DUFF, Chick Fight, or her another crazed villainous turn in The Babysitter) so if you are a fan of her Bella Thorne then you can watch these 80 minutes. Otherwise don’t attempt to do so. The biggest problem with Habit isn’t that it is provocative for no sake whatsoever. It is based on a one-note juxtaposition of religion and bad behavior, i.e. affinity for drugs, sex and violence. There isn’t really any assault at religion as it was previously advertised or feared. The characters act quite frivolous and oblivious to the whole concept of religion and what the church stands for. For them it is only a place of refuge.
The is is repetitive, clichéd, it rather tells then shows you the exposition, or rather repeats the exposition several times,despite the fact that the plot is quite minimal. At first I expected that this could be something akin to old French comedies where someone dressed up as a rabbi to hide from gangsters (for the entirety of a film as in Les Aventures de Rabbi Jacob from 1973) or as a nun for a short gag (Le Gendarme et les extra-terrestres from 1979). Or at least it would be a more violent version of Sister Act.
The film despite its short runtime and quick pacing is quite a bore, one-note joke, featuring no development whatsoever- just three girls either dressed as nuns or scantily clad, listening to Queenie’s talks about the dangerous bugs or snakes or whatever animal. It Is a scene you have seen a thousand times (and here you see it several times as well)- a villain threatening the main character with the snake’s venom and having a monologue about it. Only difference perhaps is that Queenie and her henchman look like they got lost on their way to a John Waters film set.
Perhaps the whole dressing up as a nun gimmick is supposed to serve as a metaphor which isn’t hinted at in the film, perhaps Mads believes that her constant debauchery can always be excused with her love for Jesus and the love for her friends. Mads is selfless and that is something to take away from religion- to help others. However Mads should choose better (non-violent) means to her ends. In the end though there is no grand catharsis for the characters and their reckless behavior, no moral awakening, it is a tale of Mads losing her religion (a phrase that in the South can mean losing one’s temper or civility but meant here as Mads abandoning her good behavior but not abandoning love). In the end I am not sure what the story was and it is a waste of Thorne’s talent and material. There are ideas
throughout the film (the trio of girls in nuns’ costumes raising money and using their sexuality while still being in charge of the situation) but all these ideas don’t amount to anything beyond a simple gag. Habit is a wham-bam-thank you ‘mam of a movie that doesn’t really offer much except for some glitzy colors, and a trio of criminals dressed up as nuns.
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