Guarding Tess

MPAA Rating: PG-13

Entertainment: +2 1/2

Content: -1 1/2

Tess Carlisle's husband died several years ago while serving as President of the United States. Tess (Shirley MacLaine) now lives alone with her house servants in a large, old-fashioned mansion in a small town in Ohio. To assure her safety, she and her house are guarded day and night by a crew of Secret Service agents headed by Doug Chesnic (Nicolas Cage). In public life, Tess is charming and congenial. Behind closed doors, she is a crotchety, strong-willed matron who delights in making life miserable for Doug. She treats him more like her secret servant than secret agent, even insisting he bring her breakfast in bed and accompany her to the opera. On occasion their animosity erupts into angry arguments and shouting, but they come to respect each other. When a security crisis does develop, Doug and his men move quickly to deal with it. This modern day comedy-drama has a number of humorous, as well as poignant, incidents. Although it gets off to a slow start, interest and excitement build as the story moves to a dramatic ending.

GUARDING TESS falls in line with a trend which seems to be developing in PG/PG-13 films. That is, sex and violence are subdued or absent, while much foul language continues. Recent films in this category include BLUE CHIPS, GREEDY, THE AIR UP THERE, MRS. DOUBTFIRE and 8 SECONDS. In fact, GUARDING TESS has many of the genteel qualities of older films. There's no sexual content, suggestive dialogue or nudity. Violence is confined to Doug roughing up Tess' chauffeur a few times and one scene implies he shoots him in the toe. Over time, Tess and Doug come to admire and even enjoy each other. All the time Doug is determined to meet his responsibilities in spite of the frustrating circumstances. Only a number of profanities and obscenities spoil this otherwise entertaining film. When will Hollywood realize that audiences are not enamored with the "realism" of offensive language?

Preview Reviewer: John Evans
TriStar Pictures, 9000 Sunset Blvd., #711, Los Angeles, CA 90069

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 (7) times - Mild 5; Moderate 2

Obscene Language: Several (9) times (f-word 1; s-word 4; other 4)

Profanity: Many (16) times - Regular 15; Exclamatory 1)

Violence: Several times - Moderate (rough treatment, gun threats, shoot man's toe)

Sex: None

Nudity: None

Sexual Dialogue/Gesture: None

Drugs: Few times (cocktail drinking at home, bar, airplane)

Other: None

Running Time:
Intended Audience: Teenagers and Adults

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