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'War Room' an overwrought Bible study class of a drama

Preachy doesn't begin to describe "War Room," a mighty long-winded and wincingly overwrought domestic drama from Sony's faith-based Affirm Films division.

Real estate agent Liz (real-life Christian educator Priscilla Shirer) is going through an extended rough patch in her marriage when she finds counseling from an unexpected source: Miss Clara, an older pious woman (Karen Abercrombie) whose home she's listing.

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As Miss Clara sees it, the issues that Liz has with her husband, Tony (T.C. Stallings), can be blamed entirely on her part-time churchgoing. Miss Clara persuades Liz to convert a home closet into a "war room" where she can get right with God by drawing up a battle plan marshaling prayer as the ultimate weapon to save her crumbling family.

Alex Kendrick, an evangelical filmmaker who was responsible for the successful 2008 Kirk Cameron drama "Fireproof," can never be accused of sugar-coating all the blatant proselytizing. But this Bible study class of a feature film could prove tricky to digest for Liz's fellow casual congregants.

It's one thing to seek spiritual refuge in a former closet, but by the time Liz casts Satan out of her handsomely appointed living room with all the fire and brimstone that she — and composer Paul Mills — can summon, that might be asking a lot from those outside the flock.

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"War Room."

MPAA rating: PG for thematic elements.

Running time: 2 hours.

Playing: In limited release.

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