The bright lights of Hollywood coupled with the trappings of fame are a far stronger draw for talented teen, Grace Trey, than her Sunday morning gig playing in her father’s church choir. While “Grace Unplugged,” a faith-based music story to be released in theaters on Oct. 4, begins with 18-year-old Grace, played by AJ Michalka, and her father making music together in the small Alabama church choir, it’s evident that young Grace has bigger dreams.

She longs for the fame that her father, Johnny Trey, once enjoyed as a rock star. In a role far different than the handsome plumber, Mike Delfino, that he played in “Desperate Housewives” for six years, James Denton, as Johnny, is a Christian pastor and music director. He left the corrupt world of rock ‘n roll, after making it big with his hit, “Misunderstood,” choosing instead a Christian life centered around his faith.

He doesn’t miss the world he left behind and when a former manager, Frank “Mossy” Mostin, played by Kevin Pollak of “A Few Good Men” appears in his life, trying to convince him to return to the entertainment world to re-record his one-time hit, Johnny has no trouble saying no.

But Grace has different ideas. In a prodigal daughter move, she secretly leaves home and heads to California with her guitar, big dreams and little else.

Grace has the looks and talent for Hollywood so the fame she’s yearning for is within reach. Yet, she finds that fame challenges her values, forces her to compromise her principles and pulls her further away from the loving family she left behind.

Released by Lionsgate, “Grace Unplugged” is a fast-moving, entertaining and touching story about a father-daughter relationship. Humor, music and a generally believable plot make it worthwhile family entertainment.


The film also features the acting or feature film debuts of three music stars, Christian singer Jamie-Grace, American Idol Season 10 finalist Pia Toscano and an appearance by renowned Christian artist/songwriter and Grammy Award winner Chris Tomlin.

Lionsgate and Roadside Attractions are hoping the film makes a big splash on opening weekend, Oct. 4, to send a message that this type of family fare is welcomed by movie-going audiences.

Much like similar Christian-oriented films, “Fireproof” and “Courageous,” it’s likely that word of mouth will help “Grace Unplugged” reach a wide audience.

The feel-good storyline, moving music, including Michalka’s single, “All I’ve Ever Needed,” released June 25 and which rose to number one on the iTunes Christian music chart, and likeable characters conveying a positive message are sure to resonate with its intended faith-based audience.  Maryangela Layman Román, Catholic Herald Family Staff