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Film review: Best Two Years, The

KC Clyde, left, David Nibley, Kirby Heyborne and Cameron Hopkin in "The Best Two Years."
KC Clyde, left, David Nibley, Kirby Heyborne and Cameron Hopkin in "The Best Two Years."
Halestorm Entertainment

Ever since "God's Army" was released in 2000, aspiring LDS filmmakers have been trying to best that film in terms of quality — or at least come close to matching the quality-bar set by that film.

Unfortunately, none have really come all that close until "The Best Two Years."

Here's a locally made, LDS-centric film that not only reaches the bar, but it could be argued that this one actually sets it a little higher.

Not only does this surprisingly warm and funny — and well-acted — comedy-drama stand head and shoulders above the most recent crop of LDS features, it's a film that may appeal to moviegoers outside its obvious target audience.

Despite occasional ham-fisted and off-key moments, the film makes you look forward to whatever its writer-director, first-timer Scott S. Anderson, does next.

Given the religious slant of the film, the title obviously refers to LDS missions. That's where Elder Rogers (KC Clyde) finds himself, serving in Holland. Now, as he's coming close to the end of his mission, he's also lost his zeal and passion for the work.

But that may change when he gets a new companion, "greenie" Elder Calhoun (Kirby Heyborne). Though Calhoun is a bit of a nerdy hayseed — complete with horn-rim glasses — he's also pretty gung-ho about hitting the streets and knocking on as many Dutch doors as possible.

Meanwhile, the other two missionaries sharing their apartment, Elder Johnson (David Nibley) and Elder Van Pelt (Cameron Hopkin), are astonished at the changes taking place in Rogers' demeanor. Especially when he starts giving lessons to one of Calhoun's would-be converts (Scott Christopher).

Anderson adapted this material from his stage play, "the Best Two Years of My Life," which was based on his own missionary experiences in Holland. Though it is a bit predictable, it is also well-paced and beautifully shot (especially the portions done during some limited location work in the cities of Amsterdam and Haarlem).

All of the performances are solid, and while Heyborne's hickish shtick is occasionally a bit much at the beginning, it provides a nice counterpoint to the considerably more low-key Clyde (the son of local filmmaker, screenwriter and actor Craig Clyde).

There's even a nice, completely straightforward, supporting performance by Christopher that might make a few reconsider their previous stance concerning his acting talents (especially if he can prove this is not a fluke).

"The Best Two Years" is rated PG for some crude humor involving bodily functions (mild by today's standards), some horseplay and brawling (done for laughs) and use of some creative "profanities." Running time: 108 minutes.