Ref, The

MPAA Rating: R

Entertainment: +2 1/2

Content: -3

This modern day, unrestrained comedy opens with the attempted burglary of the home of Lloyd and Caroline (Kevin Spacey and Judy Davis), a wealthy middle aged couple in Connecticut. The burglar, Gus (Denis Leary), has been unavoidably detained because his dim-witted partner didn't show up with the getaway auto. When he takes Lloyd and Judy hostage and holes up in their luxurious home, he finds they are almost more than he can handle. The couple spends so much time arguing with each other about their marital problems, they hardly have time to pay any attention to him. Gus becomes so engrossed in their problems, he virtually becomes one of the family. Also, being Christmas Eve, Lloyd's in-laws show up for dinner and Gus joins in the festivities. But the police are hot on his trail and the fun can't last forever. The comical, often crude, repartee between Lloyd, Caroline and Gus never ceases, and the humorous antics at their Christmas dinner will delight undiscriminating audiences. Many, however, will find that the crudities destroy its enjoyment.

THE REF is just one big, crude joke. Most of its humor is sexually oriented, including discussions between Lloyd and Caroline of their sex life and comical remarks about intercourse and genitals. Irritating obscenities and profanities bombard the audience throughout, and Gus can't express himself without frequent f-words. Fortunately, no sexual scenes are included and there is real hope that Lloyd and Caroline will be able to reconcile their marital conflicts. Even Gus points out that they have much to be thankful for, and admonishes their delinquent teenage son not to get involved in crime. In the end, he is a blessing in disguise. At dinner, Caroline tells a demeaning, humorous story about a religious martyr and Lloyd makes a satirical remark using an analogy to the crucifixion of Christ. This comedy would have been just as funny and effective if its crude sexual humor and offensive language had been absent. What a waste of good movie making talent!

Preview Reviewer:
Buena Vista (Touchstone/Disney), 350 S. Buena Vista St., 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 (23) times - Mild 16, Moderate 7

Obscene Language: Many (70+) times - F-word 42, s-word 10, other 18

Profanity: Many (15+) times - All regular (GD, J, JC)

Violence: Several times - Moderate (Dog attack; gun threats; people bound and mouths taped; persons pushed to floor; rough treatment; striking, implied child abuse; property damage)

Sex: None, but referred to frequently

Nudity: Once, brief (obscured porn photograph)

Sexual Dialogue/Gesture: Almost continuous, frequently explicit (discussions of sexual dream and sex life; many crude comical comments about intercourse and genitals; husband-wife tied together and suggestive remarks)

Drugs: Several times (wine and cocktail drinking with some drunkenness)

Other: Boy produces and sells porn photos to head of military academy; urination scene; burglar advises boy to avoid crime; husband-wife problems reconciled; mother admits mistakes to son

Running Time:
Intended Audience: Adults

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