Ja Rule’s new film, I’m In Love With A Church Girl, introduces the rapper in a way we haven’t quite seen from him before. Based on a true story, Ja Rule plays Miles Montego, a former drug trafficker, now on the straight and narrow, who falls in love with Vanessa Leon (played by Adrienne Bailon), a church girl who turns his life around. Ja takes his acting performance all the way in this film—not to mention the Steve Race-directed film does a pretty bang up job at removing the stigma that comes along with religion. Check out XXL’s review of the film and its major highlights from the film.


More With Less - With an estimated budget of $3 million, I’m In Love With A Church Girl manages to do more with less. In fact, with Miles’ million-dollar mansion, Bentley and diamond chains, you wouldn’t even notice. The film doesn’t look low-budget, that’s for sure.


It’s All About the Chemistry - If Ja Rule wasn’t a happily married man and Adrienne wasn’t in a committed relationship, you’d think their on-screen chemistry went beyond the pages of a script. Nonetheless, it pays off well on the film big time, considering the entire film is centered around Miles and Vanessa’s relationship. In some scenes, the chemistry is so real it’s hard not believe the two don’t have history (In their defense Ja Rule says the two have known each other for a long time). Maybe it just means they’re really good at being in the moment.


Religion is Cool - The most impressive thing about the film is that it eliminates the taboo that comes with religion. Adrienne’s character, Vanessa, for instance, isn’t your typical “church girl.” She’s young, sexy and ain’t afraid to show it. In addition, Vanessa doesn’t walk around like she has a stick up her ass. She’s a down-to-earth chick, who speaks in slang, and even clubs and drinks from time to time. Steve Race and the film’s screenwriter do a phenomenal job at introducing religion to an audience that may not have a church background; without force-feeding it with a spoon of snobbery. Vanessa accepts Miles for who he is, despite his dark past. Additionally, the film delves into the 21st century church, where a suit and tie is no longer the norm. In one scene, Miles discovers that Vanessa’s pastor is not only young, but drives an expensive car and dresses like a rapper. It teaches the valuable lesson that the clothes don’t make the man, the man makes the clothes, and that it’s OK to be fly and faithful.


Real Thugs Cry - Hands down, this is Ja Rule’s best on-screen performance. While we’re used to seeing the rapper in more comedy and action films, I’m In Love With A Church Girl brings out the true actor in him. Never has Ja had such a dramatic role, so much so that in one scene he actually sheds real thug tears. This role could be the catalyst for a more serious acting career for the Queens MC. Ja easily steals the show and is most definitely the driving force behind the film. His convincing role is what carries the film, and in the end you’re left impressed.—Gerren Keith Gaynor (@MRGERRENALIST)


XXL Rating: L