Well, I'll give it an A for effort and a D for execution. By effort, I mean I think it tries to create a Southern Gothic feel and to pass along a Christian, conservative message (and any movie that features an anti-abortion blues number sung by Samuel L. Jackson can't be all bad!). But a D for execution, cuz Flannery O'Connor it ain't. She had herself a real pair, for one, and this movie just doesn't. It chickens out in its Christianity, watering it down with p.c. amateur psychobabble and let's-talk-about-how-we-feel therapy (i mean, literally, therapy - one of the final scenes could have come straight out of Dr. Melfi's office), and no amount of religious symbolism can redeem that. Also, the whole white-guy-really-into-blues-music-because-it's-just-so-damn-real thing can get pretty patronizing and annoying sometimes (see Zeppelin, Led). Plus, it way overdoes the whole Christina-Ricci-writhing-sluttily-on-the-floor-thing (almost as much as I'm currently overdoing the whole connecting-all-my-words-with-dashes thing) and basically ends up glamorizing what it set out to condemn (though, let's be honest, that's a flaw I could live with...). Oh, and Justin Timberlake is in it for some reason.
But, it is Hollywood after all, and if there has to be exploitation and huggery alongside the salvation, well, it's better than the morality they usually give us - that is to say, better than nothing.
And, yes, the music is great. They have Ricci sing this, I leave you with another version: