MPAA Rating: PG

Entertainment: +2 1/2

Content: -1/2

In the year 2050, Clifford (Martin Short) is an old man, a priest-like Father Flannery who runs a home for wayward boys. When one precocious boy tries running away because no one likes him, Clifford reminisces with him about his time as a ten-year old terror at his Uncle Martin's house. After Martin Daniels (Charles Grodin) makes and then breaks a promise to take Clifford to Dinasourworld, a popular theme park in Los Angeles, Clifford begins wreaking revenge on Uncle Martin. Starting with small embarrassments, Clifford soon works up to implicating Martin in a bomb threat. Uncle Martin, who is pretending an affecionate relationship with Clifford for the sake of his fiancee Sarah (Mary Steenburgen), increasingly loses patience with Clifford. Uncle Martin finally loses control when Clifford destroys an important work project. In an insane rage, he takes Clifford out to Dinasourworld at night to teach the boy a lesson. The scenes at the amusement park may be scary for small children although Clifford is not harmed in any way. It may be a little curious to see Martin Short, an adult, playing a ten-year old, but he does such an incredible job that it only adds to this fairly funny family movie.

Unlike other precocious child movies, CLIFFORD's story stresses that destructive behavior only leads to alienation from others. Clifford and the boy in the year 2050 both learn that to seek forgiveness is better than running away or causing more trouble. There is some comic violence when the elderly Clifford is hit on the head with a suitcase. The Dinasourworld scene involves the potential for violence and even a life-threatening situation for Clifford, but no one is hurt. Unfortunately, for a PG movie it includes superfluous offensive language, including two regular profanities and three s-words. Clifford makes up a dark lie that some bikers have abused him sexually, though no one believes him. In another incident Sarah has to fight off her boss's sexual advances. Clifford also watches a PBS documentary on Africa which shows native breast nudity. These few elements could have easily been omitted. CLIFFORD teeters on the verge of a Preview endorsement.

Preview Reviewer: Greg Wilson
Orion Pictures, 304 Park Ave. S., NY, NY 10010

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: Several (5) times - Mild

Obscene Language: Few (3) times (s-word)

Profanity: Many (13) times - Regular 2; Exclamatory 11

Violence: Few times - Moderate (comic hits in the head by suitcase)

Sex: None

Nudity: Several times (TV documentary with native nudity)

Sexual Dialogue/Gesture: Few times (boss makes unwanted advances to employee; Clifford lies about sexual abuse)

Drugs: None

Other: Destructive behavior not encouraged

Running Time:
Intended Audience: Family

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