Poetic Justice

MPAA Rating: R

Entertainment: +2

Content: -4

Set in riot-torn South Central Los Angeles, POETIC JUSTICE showcases singer Janet Jackson, who plays a poetry-writing hairdresser named Justice. After her boyfriend is gunned down, she mourns by writing poetry, crying, and pouting. Finally, her girlfriend, Keisha (Regina King) convinces her to take a trip to Oakland with her boyfriend named Chicago (Joe Torry). They end up riding in a postal truck with Lucky (Tupac Shakur) on a mail run to San Francisco. After a series of adventures on the road, including Keisha's drunkenness and some card playing, the relationship between Lucky and Justice warms up. In Oakland, they find Lucky's cousin has been murdered. Lucky blames their delay and the untimely death on Justice. At times, Justice speaks her poetry, actually penned by renowned poet Maya Angelou. The movie itself, while it has touching moments and some humorous escapades, lacks depth. Neither Ms. Jackson nor the other actors develop as characters.

POETIC JUSTICE spews out an outrageous amount of foul language. Included are 106 crudities and more than 275 obscenities. Violence ranges from mild to severe, with an on-screen close-up murder and violent beating of a woman by her ex-boyfriend. Sexual intercourse is implied once and is explicit, with no nudity, in the back of the mail truck. Female breast nudity is shown twice, along with several instances of near-nudity, including skimpy underwear and tight, revealing dresses. Drug usage is implied twice, along with many references to drugs and dealers. Justice urges Keisha to stop drinking. Lucky continues to drive while under the influence of alcohol. There are many racial slurs against blacks and Mexican-Americans. The blacks call each other the "n" word. Overall, the language, pointless theme, and lack of character development make this a very disturbing, repulsive film.

Preview Reviewer: Alice Anderson
Columbia Pictures, 711 5th Ave., NY, NY 10022

The following categories contain objective listings of film content which contribute to the subjective numeric Content ratings posted to the left and on the Home page.

Crude Language: Many (106) times; Mild 22; Moderate 84

Obscene Language: Many (275+) times (f-word 175+, s-word 85+, other 15)

Profanity: Several (8) times - Regular 7; Exclamatory 1

Violence: Several (8) times - Mild, moderate and severe (pushing, shoving, fighting, kicking in groin, murder off-screen, murder, severe beating of woman)

Sex: Once, but fully dressed; once, implied

Nudity: Twice - upper female; near nudity, several times (women in skimpy underwear and tight, revealing dresses)

Sexual Dialogue/Gesture: Many (references to intercourse, suggestive body movements, obscene gestures)

Drugs: Drugs implied twice, discussed many times; drinking several times (drunkenness, vomiting, buying alcohol, driving after drinking)

Other: Many times (10 racial slurs)

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