Entertainment: +2
Acceptability: -2

FILM SYNOPSIS: Will Shortz, the impish crossword puzzle editor at The New York Times, has spent his entire lifetime studying, creating, and editing puzzles, and has built a huge following along the way. This is his story, and that of those addicted to word games. Shortzs die-hard fans include President Bill Clinton, Senator Bob Dole, The Daily Shows Jon Stewart, filmmaker Ken Burns, the Indigo Girls, and Yankees ace pitcher Mike Mussina each seen here in revealing confessionals.

PREVIEW REVIEW: Who would associate revealing, involving, or funny with a documentary about crossword puzzle players? Surprisingly, the production values, direction, pacing and humor make for an insightful movie. Whats more, there may be a built-in audience for this documentary (over 50 million Americans do crosswords every week). That said, I would not put this in the league with the dramatic Akeelah and the Bee or the nature study March of the Penguins, both of which inspired. Akeelah bettered her life and drew her community together through her commitment to language use, while the penguins communicated the sanctity of life.Wordplay is more a curiosity, as it spotlights self-described geeks whose world revolves around word puzzles.

Since the film is seen from the perspective of Will Shortz, who works for the New York Times and National Public Radio, the film proclaims those organizations as being the best news outlets in the world. Hmmm.

Preview Reviewer: Phil Boatwright
Distributor: IFC Films

Crude Language: None, not even from Jon Stewart.
Obscene Language: Shortz reads some derogatory mail he receives, one calling him a smart ass, another uses the minor expletive, hell.
Profanity: None
Violence: None
Sexual Intercourse: A gay couple kiss.
Nudity: None
Homosexual Conduct: Leading up to the finale, the 26th annual crossword tournament, we get to know several contestants, including one gay man and his lover. During an interview, he leans over and kisses his life partner. Not long ago, that shot would have generated a startled reaction from a straight audience. But since the visual has become more commonplace, no reaction was heard at the screening.
Sexually Suggestive Action/Dialog: None
Drug Abuse: None
Other: None
Running Time: 84 minutes
Intended Audience: Those who love documentaries, no matter the subject.

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