Renaissance Man

MPAA Rating: PG-13

Entertainment: +3

Content: -1 1/2

Penny Marshall's new movie hearkens fondly back to the great films about schoolmasters such as TO SIR WITH LOVE and DEAD POETS SOCIETY. In this one, Danny DeVito plays out-of-work advertiser Bill Rago, who has never taught, but is forced to take a job teaching English to a group of Army recruits who have never thought. The first encounter is rough since the recruits are at each other's throats and Bill cannot keep a sense of order. In addition, Sergeant Cass (Gregory Hines) plays a hard-nosed officer who doesn't like Bill's easy-going ways. Soon, however, the group starts to build an inner camaraderie around Bill's teaching of Shakespeare. Bill discovers he does have something to teach these kids, most of whom have come from poor, dysfunctional families. In turn, the students and the Army may have something to teach Bill about his life. This is a movie with a warm center which becomes a little syrupy at times, but never morose like DEAD POETS SOCIETY. DeVito throws in plenty of laughs in this very entertaining movie for young adults and older.

The principal reason for the PG-13 rating is the offensive language which could have easily been eliminated. Instead, we hear many obscenities and regular profanities, plus crude gestures a few times. When will filmmakers learn that a popular movie does not have to indulge in this kind of language? Without it, RENAISSANCE MAN could have been outstanding because of its positive messages and lack of violence and sexual content. The cadets practicing hand-to-hand combat on the firing range hardly qualifies as violence. However, there are several sexually suggestive comments, but they are fairly toned down. Both Bill and his students learn to take responsibility for their actions and that change is possible through hard work. This emphasis on positive human action is commendable and leaves us hopeful that today's youth will take the hint and make the right choices for themselves and society.

Preview Reviewer: Greg Wilson
Buena Vista Distribution, 3900 W. Alameda Ave., Burbank, CA 91521

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 (42) times - Mild 28, Moderate 14

Obscene Language: Many (14) times (s-word 9, f-word 1, other 4)

Profanity: Regular 13 times

Violence: None

Sex: None

Nudity: None

Sexual Dialogue/Gesture: Several times (references to intercourse)

Drugs: None

Other: Responsibility taken for past actions; positive view of education

Running Time:
Intended Audience: Young adults and older

Click HERE for a PRINTER-FRIENDLY version of this review.