Cure, The
Entertainment: +3 1/2
Acceptability: -1 1/2

Dexter (Joseph Mazzello), a spirited boy who has contracted AIDS from a blood transfusion, finds himself isolated from his ignorant community. Erik (Brad Renfro), his new next-door neighbor and school ruffian, becomes his unlikely friend. Erik spends hours with Dexter and often eats dinner with him and his mother (Annabella Sciorra). When Dexter's condition begins to worsen, Erik remains loyal to his pal. After some experiments of trying to find a cure for AIDS with weeds, one turns out to be poisonous, but not fatal. Faced with the punishment of being sent to summer camp, Erik concocts a plan. The two boys leave Minneapolis in a raft headed down the river for New Orleans. Their goal is to find an herbal cure from a swamp that they had read about in a magazine. Their adventures are humorous, touching, and exciting as they travel the river and hook up with two sleazy characters on a boat headed to New Orleans. With Dexter too weak to travel, Erik finally realizes they must head back home, only to find more trouble. While the heart-wrenching ending is predictable, the characters are real and the cinematography outstanding, making for a very touching movie experience.

The film's PG-13 rating is based almost entirely on objectionable language. It is disturbing to hear 11-year-olds spout so many obscenities and profanities with no one bothering to correct them. Erik is left to fend for himself by his neglectful mother, who spends her free time drinking and smoking. She also occasionally slaps her son. Dexter's mother shows Erik the only affection he has known. While Erik's motives are pure in the search for a cure, he goes about it in a less-than-acceptable way. He lies to his mother about his whereabouts, and then takes Dexter and runs away. Over Dexter's weak protests, he steals money from the sleazy boat owners. The boat owners invite two women to join them on the boat, where they drink pretty heavily and sexual activity is implied. The two boys find a “Playboy” magazine on board and entertain themselves reading it. These objectionable elements could have been left out without diminishing the film's realism.

Preview Reviewer: Alice Anderson
Distributor: Universal Pictures, 100 Universal Blvd., Universal City, CA 91608

Crude Language: Many (22) times - Mild 8, Moderate 14
Obscene Language: Many (17) times (s-word 14, obscene gesture 1, other 2)
Profanity: Several (7) times - Regular 2 (G, J), Exclamatory 5
Violence: Few times - Moderate (boy throws rock at another; mother slaps son; boy cuts himself with knife)
Sexual Intercourse: Implied once (couple in bed, no nudity)
Nudity: Near Nudity (2) times (women in revealing swimsuits; skirt slips up)
Homosexual Conduct: None, but Dexter's schoolmates assume he's homosexual
Sexually Suggestive Action/Dialog: Few times (crude, suggestive conversations between men and women)
Drug Abuse: Several times (drinking, cigarette smoking)
Other: None
Running Time:
Intended Audience: Teens and adults

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