Major Payne
Entertainment: +2 1/2
Acceptability: -2

Black comedian Damon Wayans stars in this very loose remake of a 1955 Charlton Heston movie, THE PRIVATE WAR OF MAJOR BENSON. Marine Major Payne (Wayans) has spent his adult life serving in combat wherever the action might be. When he is passed over for promotion and given early retirement, his world comes crashing down. I miss the sweet smell of mustard gas, he tells his commanding officer. Reluctantly, he accepts a job with Madison Preparatory School in Virginia as the new Junior R.O.T.C. commander. His fledgling recruits range in age from 6 to 16, and none are spared the scathing insults of Major Payne. Soon the youngsters retaliate. One of the boys is dressed in a nightgown and gets in bed with the sleeping Major while the others set up a camera to record the scandalous event. It backfires, however, and the next day the boys are all wearing dresses with their heads shaved, parading around the campus in disgrace. With the help of pretty counselor, Dr. Emily Walburn (Karyn Parsons), the rigid, robot-like Marine gradually becomes almost human. Young teenagers especially will think MAJOR PAYNE is a hoot. Older folks will too, if they like Damon Wayan's style of comedy.

In the opening scene,the Major is standing over an enemy victim who is bleeding from a nasty gunshot wound. He tells the man that he will help him get his mind off his hurting arm, then proceeds to break the helpless man's fingers. He brandishes a sharp dagger, throws a live grenade and fires a rifle into the air to show his young recruits he is dead serious. The Major indulges in crude bathroom humor and calls the boys insulting names, and compliments the cadets by calling them maggots. As you might expect, a climactic competition with a rival school brings out the best of the boys and the Major. He has taught them that the only way to get what you want - in this case the Junior R.O.T.C. trophy - is not by stealing it but by working hard for it. The boys have taught Major Payne that it's ok to have feelings and to care for someone. No one teaches or learns, however, that crudities and obscenities are a form of verbal pollution and mental laziness, just as stealing is a sign of physical laziness.

Preview Reviewer: Mary Draughon
Distributor: Universal Pictures, 100 Universal Blvd., Universal City, CA 91608

Crude Language: Many (29) times - Mild 10, Moderate 19
Obscene Language: Many (18) times (s-word 4, other 14)
Profanity: Once -Exclamatory
Violence: Several times - Moderate and Severe (soldier breaks wounded man's fingers; abusive father strikes son; fist fighting, slapping, kicking; rifled fired into air; hand grenade thrown into bushes)
Sexual Intercourse: None
Nudity: None
Homosexual Conduct: None
Sexually Suggestive Action/Dialog: None
Drug Abuse: None
Other: Crude bathroom humor; man roasts rat and eats it
Running Time:
Intended Audience: Teenagers

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