Close friends become unexpected rivals as they struggle to keep their spiritual home alive in this musical drama from writer and director Rob Hardy. David (Michael J. Pagan) and Frank (Sean Nelson) are two close friends who are members of… More Close friends become unexpected rivals as they struggle to keep their spiritual home alive in this musical drama from writer and director Rob Hardy. David (Michael J. Pagan) and Frank (Sean Nelson) are two close friends who are members of the same Baptist church in Atlanta. The teenagers have developed a deep and abiding faith in Christ, and both aspire to become ministers some day; David, who has also become a star vocalist with the choir, is thought to have a head start since his father is the congregation's pastor, Bishop Taylor (Clifton Powell). However, David's faith is shaken when his mother dies while giving birth to another child, and when Bishop Taylor fails to arrive at the hospital in time, David runs away from home, turning his back on his father and his church. Fifteen years later, aging Bishop Taylor has announced he's retiring, and Frank (Idris Elba), now a reverend, seems poised to take his place. However, the church is in dire financial shape, and no one is sure how long Rev. Frank's flock will have a church to call home. Meanwhile, David (Boris Kodjoe) has used his musical talents to become a top-selling R&B singer, and his latest hit record, "Let Me Undress You," suggests he's given up on the faith of his youth. But David has been undergoing a spiritual crisis, and when he learns his father is ailing and the church is in dire shape, he returns to Atlanta in hopes of finding himself and keeping the church afloat. Not everyone regards this as good news, though; Rev. Frank, who sees his position in the church as a stepping stone to bigger things in the gospel music business and establishing a high-profile ministry, is not eager to share the spotlight with David, especially when the prodigal star begins organizing a large-scale fundraiser for the church. The Gospel features musical contributions from a number of leading gospel artists, including Kirk Franklin, Fred Hammond, and Yolanda Adams.
Consensus: While it features outstanding musical numbers, The Gospel reduces a series of worthy themes -- faith, family, forgiveness -- to soapy, banal clichés.