Finally, in Altar Egos, Robert Amaya gets a starring role! In Altar Egos, he plays Pastor John, the put-upon pastor of a fading church. While the church’s attendance is dropping (and the pastor across the street is drawing a record crowd), John’s wife, Betsy (Erin Bethea), is campaigning for a transfer to another, larger church. John would rather chase his dreams at the church his father founded, but choir director Mary Margaret (Sallie Wanchisn) stands in his way. In Sean Morgan’s directorial and writing debut, the humor, drama, and faith are integral to the story, which will entertain and encourage your faith.
In an attempt to rescue the church, John agrees to let Betsy run the Christmas pageant; in a fit of anger, Mary Margaret pushes the choir to boycott. Sensing that his church is in a do-or-die position, John convinces his son, Jack (Max Morgan), to help him infiltrate the choir … with make-up and acting that would bring Mrs. Doubtfire to shame. The two of them dress up as old men, befriend the choir, and begin to see the lives of their antagonists in a whole new way.
In a parallel story to John’s attempt to win Mary Margaret’s support, Jack works to get closer to Holly (Lindsley Register), a girl who co-stars with him in Cyrano de Bergerac. This leads to some funny moments, as her mother sings in the choir and is attracted to Jack’s ‘older’ character, while Holly begins to see Jack’s worth compared to her current boyfriend, the school bully.
While there are some ‘typical’ church motifs here - the church needs to change to grow, the pastor needs to change to lead the church well, those who have lost someone need to grieve and be comforted - Altar Egos is FUNNY. Whether it’s the hijinks of cooking in a fat suit in a hibachi restaurant, watching Jack lead the old folks in a dance to Family Force 5’s “Wobble,” or simply watching the mistaken identity action play out, the script delivers in ways that few Christian films do.
Amaya proves to be the multifaceted leading man that he’s shown glimpses of in films like Unlimited, Champion, and Mom’s Night Out. He and Bethea play their married role naturally, while Morgan and Amaya show chemistry as father/son and as old men. Their acting chops allow for the script to speak into our lives, to tug at our heartstrings, to make us laugh, and to push us toward being the people we’re called to be. In the end, Altar Egos challenges both John and Jack to “go get the girl” a la Cyrano de Bergerac, but to learn the lesson most important to all of us:
To fully live, we must lay aside all of our masks.