By Marie Davies
“The RM,” the latest movie from the makers of “The Singles Ward,” hits theaters across Utah Friday, Jan. 31.
Audience members at Wednesday”s premiere offered mixed reviews.
Actor Corbin Allred, best known for his supporting role in the film “Anywhere But Here,” said he thought “The RM” compared well to big-budget Hollywood films.
“We learned that we had a good thing with ”The Singles Ward” and we didn”t want to reinvent the business model,” director Kurt Hale said. “We could have easily pulled together more money and used a bigger budget for ”The RM,” but we still believe there are not enough movie-going Mormons that trust, quote, ”Mormon comedy” enough for us to risk a bigger budget.”
“The RM” had a $400,000 budget.
“There”s so much trash in Hollywood right now,” Allred said. “I don”t like going to a movie feeling like I need to go to church right after, feeling guilty. This is one of those movies where you can go take your family and laugh about it for awhile.”
Dorothy Lloyd, a 78-year-old extra in the Relief Society scenes, said she doesn”t think the movie portrays Relief Society sisters accurately.
“The whole thing is just all in fun,” Lloyd said. “This is all a fluffy kind of thing.”
Like “The Singles Ward,” “The RM” has several standout characters.
Lincoln Hope, who played DaVerl, the love struck loser from ”The Singles Ward,”” has a small part as the Elder”s Quorum President in “The RM.”
“I had fun being a little more normal,” Hope said.
One of the atypical characters in the film is a Tongan exchange student named Humuhumukunukunukuapua”a, played by radio disc jockey Big Budha.
Budha”s character eats unusually large amounts of food, and all the shots of him eating are real, Budha said.
“I was able to maintain my weight. I did not lose or gain,” he said.
However, not all audience members were enthusiastic.
“It was a little too long,” Kelly McBride said. The movie has a running time of one hour and 51 minutes.
“”Singles Ward” was a little bit more quick and crispy,” McBride said.
But Kirby Heyborne, the movie”s star, said he thinks ”The RM” is a better film and insisted it has nothing to do with the fact that he plays the lead role.
Supporting actor Will Swenson, who played the lead in “The Singles Ward,” agreed with Heyborne.
“We learned a lot of lessons about how to put a film together. The editing is stronger and the base is better,” Swenson said. “I think it has a little more universal appeal. There was a lot of exclusive humor in ”The Singles Ward” and these jokes are easier to get.”
Some have been wondering if “The RM” is a continuation of the plot from “The Singles Ward.” But Heyborne said he doesn”t think people will have a problem differentiating between the two movies.
“The Singles Ward” grossed $1.5 million in theaters. Jed Ivie, director of media and public relations for Halestorm Entertainment, predicted that because of increased publicity, “The RM” will do even better.