A Catholic-themed indie of occasionally irreverent wit.

A Catholic-themed indie of occasionally irreverent wit, “Into Temptation” is appropriately tough to resist, particularly as its cup runneth over with intoxicating turns by TV regulars and eager unknowns. The second feature by Minneapolis-based actor-writer-director Patrick Coyle, whose sly “Detective Fiction” graced Sundance in 2003, this handsomely shot DV pic falters only in its hokey characterization of a suicidally depressed but fastidiously responsible hooker (Kristin Chenoweth), whom a scruffy young priest (Jeremy Sisto) deigns to save. First Look Intl. will release a DVD in late October, following a handful of arthouse dates.

Sisto’s endearingly droll performance begins with his crossword puzzle-clutching Father John taking confessions from a variety of eccentrics, including Chenoweth’s Linda, a prostitute who’s planning ahead to meet her maker. Trolling the city’s red-light district for the elusive woman, the sleuthing priest gets spotted outside Sex World by an upstanding parishioner, discretion be damned. Throughout the film, Coyle strikes a near-perfect balance between humor and holiness, shrewdly attributing his narrative contrivances to divine intervention. Tech credits, including Russell Holsapple’s gentle piano score and David Doyle’s vivid work with the Red camera, are righteous despite a modest offering plate.

Into Temptation

Production

A First Look Intl. release of a Ten Ten Films, Farnam Street presentation, in association with Cabin 14. Produced by Ann Luster. Executive producers, Anne Marie Gillen, John J. Frey, Michael McHugh, Carol Frey Wolfe. Directed, written by Patrick Coyle.

Crew

Camera (color/B&W, HD), David Doyle; editors, Lee Percy, Scott Ferril; music, Russell Holsapple; production designer, James R. Bakkom; art directors, Sarah Jean Kruchowski, Amy Hubbard; set decorator, Vanessa Miles; costume designer, Deborah Fiscus. Reviewed at Landmark Lagoon Cinema, Minneapolis, Aug. 29, 2009. Running time: 95 MIN.

With

Jeremy Sisto, Kristin Chenoweth, Brian Baumgartner, Bruce A. Young, Amy Matthews, Tony Papenfuss, Ansa Akyea, Patrick Coyle, Linda Kelsey.
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