Mary, a rising senior at American Eagle Christian High School
, has a great life. Wonderful friends, a great Christian boyfriend named Dean, and a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. But one day during the summer, Dean confides in her that he might be gay,
she has a crisis of faith. She makes a deal with God to cure him by having sex with him, and soon all is well.
Then, on the first day of school, she's informed that Dean has been sent to Mercy House for "rehabilitation," after his parents discovered his gay porn stash. Then come the missed periods, and the morning sickness. As she struggles both with her faith, and to hide her pregnancy from her single mom and judgmental friends, she finds an unlikely ally in Cassandra Edelstein, a shunned Jewish bad girl who's only at the school because no one else will take her.
This movie contains examples of:
- Adam Westing: "Up next on Lifetime, Valerie Bertinelli stars in Bitter Harvest, a sensitive portrayal of one woman's struggle with cancer…"
- Alpha Bitch: Hilary.
- Armor-Piercing Question:
Cassandra: You swear to God you didn't frame us, Hilary Faye?
- Asian Airhead: Veronica.
- Beta Couple: Roland and Cassandra. Also, Lillian and Pastor Skip.
- Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Hilary Faye.
- Black Comedy
Cassandra: There's only one reason Christian girls come down to the Planned Parenthood.
Roland: She's planting a pipe bomb?!
Cassandra: Okay, two reasons.
- Break the Haughty: Happens to Hilary Faye twice, first when Roland and Cassandra put up pictures of her when she was fat and ugly, and then when Tia proves she actually vandalized the school after she swore publicly she didn't.
- Butt Monkey: Tia.
- California Doubling: Set in suburban Baltimore, filmed in Canada.
- Can't Get Away with Nuthin' : Mary naturally gets pregnant after having sex for the first time. And when she goes to Planned Parenthood for confirmation all the way across town, two of her classmates just happen to be having coffee across the street.
- The Cast Showoff: Although somewhat playing against type, Mandy Moore still has to have a scene where she gets to show off her beautiful singing voice.
- Catholic School Girls Rule: While not Catholic, Cassandra's school uniform is very much along these lines.
- Chekhov's Gun: A certain messianiac billboard at the beginning of the movie will play a part during Hilary Faye's BTH
- Averted with the actual gun Hilary Faye shoots at the beginning of the movie.
- The Charmer: Patrick
- Christianity Is Catholic: Averted. The characters and the culture are clearly (exaggerated) Evangelical in nature.
- Not too exaggerated, though; while they may be rare, and by no means is this an accurate portrayal of the average Evangelical Christian, there are communities that are about as religiously devoted as portrayed in the movie.
- Cool Car: Cassandra's vintage muscle car.
- Subverted with the "handi-van." Hilary Faye had prayed for an expensive vehicle, and that's what she got.
- Crisis of Faith: Averted; in spite of now being in a VERY (traditionally) un-Christian extended family of a gay father, a Nay-Theist step-father and a Jewish godmother, Mary's faith in the Christian God is as strong as ever after the birth of her child, although she's more tolerant and accepting of other walks of life.
- Cure Your Gays: Mary tries to do this with Dean. It fails, kicking off the plot in the process.
- So do Dean's parents. And Hilary Faye. And Hilary Faye's entire prayer circle. In fact, it's probably the second biggest theme/plot arc of the movie.
- Deadpan Snarker: Cassandra.
- Disabled Snarker: Roland.
- Divine Race Lift: Discussed. There is an argument over whether or not Jesus is supposed to be white.
- Excited Show Title!
- Expository Hairstyle Change: At the beginning of the film, Roland's hair is cleanly combed. After Cassandra ruffles his hair affectionately on their first "date", his hair becomes progressively messier as he gains his independence.
- All of the Christian Jewels wear their hair flipped outward initially. Later, when Mary realizes she's pregnant and starts questioning Jesus, her hair immediately goes flat.
- Fallen Princess: Hilary Faye, as a result of her double Break the Haughty.
- Mary, after word gets out about her pregnancy.
- Female Gaze: The school puts on, ironically, Jesus Christ Superstar. The only scene they show is the crucifixion in which Patrick is playing Jesus. There is a loving shot of his body, the camera starts on his crotch and pans up to his face where he is moaning as if in pain. Cassandra adds "Now that's what I call being hung on the cross."
- Foreshadowing: The scene where Mary asks Lillian how quick she'd be to send her to Mercy House.
- Averted with the scene of Hilary Faye at the gun range. In the original ending, Hilary Faye was to shoot up her prom after getting expelled. While this ending was changed, the scene at the gun range stayed in as an artifact of this.
- Girl Next Door: There's something endearing about sweet and sincere redheaded girls.
- Girl Posse: The Christian Jewels.
- Good Girls Avoid Abortion: See Black Comedy above.
- Hannibal Lecture: Part of Hilary Faye's Villainous Breakdown.
Hilary Faye: The Christian thing? I have been doing the Christian thing my entire life. I did not have sex with a gay and try and blame it on Jesus!
Mary: Just cool it, Hil.
Hilary Faye: Oh, shut up, you fornicator! And I did not hack into the school's computer system and cover our walls with that blasphemous graffiti either!
- Happily Adopted: Though we don't see Veronica interact with her (Black) parents very much, she is quite hilariously thankful that they saved her from being a heathen in Vietnam.
- Heel-Face Turn: Hilary Faye, at the very end.
- Holier Than Thou: Hilary Faye is a combination of this and the Alpha Bitch.
- Hypocritical Humor: Hilary Faye while throwing a bible at Mary: "I am filled with Christ's love!"
- Is Nothing Sacred?:
Trudy Mason: Patrick has … just completed a world tour as part of the Christian Skateboarders Association.
Cassandra: Been hittin' the board for the Lord? God, is nothing sacred to you people?
- Kawaiiko: Mary.
- Last Het Romance: Mary for Dean.
- Light Is Not Good: Hilary Faye
- Male Gaze: Roland gets caught peeking at Cassandra's butt in a POV shot.
- Meaningful Name: Mary, Mary, Mary, Mary. Also facepalmingly so with Roland.
- Mary's is also a debatable case of Prophetic Names, since, just like her Biblical namesake, Mary becomes a mother due to (what she thinks is) her service to God.
- Misplaced-Names Poster: Not only are the names misplaced, but it only lists four of the five actors shown.◊
- Mission from God: Mary thinks she has been directed by Jesus personally to "cure" Dean.
- Hilary Faye thinks the same thing about Cassandra, which the latter exploits.
- Morning Sickness: Because of her distant mother and the dearth of sexual education at her school, Mary doesn't realize what it means.
- Nice Girl: Mary, a genuinely sweet, kind-hearted and decent girl in spite of all the pain suffered.
- Noodle Incident: Cassandra once shoplifted a frozen turkey from a supermarket wearing only short shorts and a tube top. No further explanation is given.
- Parental Abandonment
- Passion Play: The school play that year is Jesus Christ Superstar. For those familiar with the musical, that's a rather ironic choice for such a rigid school.
- Preacher's Kid: Patrick.
- Precision F-Strike: After discovering she's pregnant, Mary stands in front of a church and says "Shit. Fuck. Goddamn." To her, the last is probably the most devastating curse word.
- The "shit" seems to have been dubbed in. As filmed, it looks like Mary is saying "fuck" twice. The first "fuck" was probably changed to "shit" to keep the movie PG-13.
- Product Placement: Characters are seen drinking Diet Coke throughout the film.
- Prom Baby
- Race Lift: The statue of Jesus.
Roland: I still don't think he's supposed to be white. I saw this thing on television-
Hilary Faye: Of course he's white!
- Sanity Slippage: Hilary's rampage on the ball.
- Sibling Yin-Yang: Hilary and Roland Faye. He's a Disabled Snarker and intellectual, who openly criticizes Christianity, his sister and his parents, but genuinely cares for Cassandra and Mary and Hilary, though it takes her epic-class Freak Out! to make him show it. She, on the other hand, is a Holier Than Thou Christian fundamentalist/Straw Hypocrite, who frequently plays Teacher's Pet (kissing up to Pastor Skip, trying to "save" Cassandra and calling for people to pray for Mary and Dean, organizing the prom, etc.)... and still frames Cassandra and Mary for graffiting the school, thereby inadvertently outing Mary's pregnancy to the whole school, swears a denial to God only to be publicly outed as a big fake, and suffers her Villainous Breakdown.
- Six Student Clique
- The Head — Patrick
- The Muscle — Dean
- The Quirk — Roland
- The Pretty One — Dean's prom date, a male example.
- The Smart One — Mary
- The Wild One — Cassandra
- Smite Me, O Mighty Smiter: Mary at one point stands in front of a cross and utters progressively worse swears, as though attempting to provoke a reaction.
- Speaking Simlish: Cassandra pretends to be possessed by the Holy Spirit in chapel, acting as though she is speaking in tongues. Hillary Faye interrupts her to point out that she's just repeating "My pussy is a hot pussy!"
- Egocentrically Religious: Hilary.
- Stealth Pun: "Is he going to come out or not?!"
- Strawman U: Not a college, but American Eagle Christian High School is an example of a Jim Jonestown High School.
- Teen Pregnancy
- Totally Radical: Pastor Skip.
- Amusingly, the students all seem to buy it. Then again, they're not exactly a hip crowd themselves...
- Transparent Closet: Referenced, with regards to Dean. While Mary and the Christian Jewels are shocked and disgusted by the idea that Dean is gay, Roland asserts, "What? It wasn't like it was some big secret. He was like a one-man gay pride parade."
- True Companions: Mary, Roland, and Cassandra, and also the much larger "family" that Mary has acquired by the end (basically everyone in the hospital scene).
- Verbed Title