Mary (Malone) just wants to do God's work, including trying to 'cure' her gay boyfriend with sex. Their brief encounter leads to a not-so-immaculate conception and alienates Mary from the popular clique of her Christian high school, turning her into a social outcast.
Christians don't fare well in the movies, often being represented as slack-shouldered, becardiganed bores or murderous fundamentalist nutcases.
Saved! takes a slightly more measured view on being 'down with G-O-D', introducing every point on the Hallelujah scale from the Bible-thumping God-botherer to the ardent non-believer.
It starts off very sprightly and witty and maintains a high giggle-count throughout, writer-director Dannelly throwing out sharp lines and staging a hilarious Christ 'vision' in a swimming pool.
Frustratingly, though, many of his large cast are soon pushed to the sidelines. Malone is vulnerable and warm as the conflicted Mary, and Moore plays gamely against her wholesome image as the conniving school bitch who wants to convert anyone who crosses her path.
But with so many stories to cover, some of the peripheral characters are left wanting; Culkin is underused as Moore's disabled brother, and leaving the terrific Mary-Louise Parker in a bit part is a crime.
The need to avoid offending the religiously sensitive proves a heavy cross for Saved! to bear, yet the idea is inspired and the enthusiasm evident in every aspect of story and performance.
Despite a soggy ending and the occasional lapse in spikiness, it's an original spin on a well-worn genre and, as such, deserves praise.