Searching for Bobby Fischer

MPAA Rating: PG

Entertainment: +4

Content: +3 1/2

Josh is only seven years old when he begins playing chess with old-timers in Washington Square Park in New York. He shows so much promise that his father, Fred (Joe Mantegna), hires an expert teacher (Ben Kingsley) who hopes that Josh will be a student to match his first success, Bobby Fischer. Fischer was the first American to ever win the World Chess Championship back in the 1950's. Bobby subsequently disappeared for over 20 years. The movie moves back and forth from old film footage of Bobby Fischer to Josh, the newest chess prodigy. Josh is also befriended and taught by one of the chess hustlers in the park, Vinnie (Laurence Fishburn), who has a very different approach to chess playing. Josh learns from both teachers and is soon winning competitions. Unfortunately, his father starts expecting him to win every game, no matter what the cost. Josh is caught between his childhood innocence and his talent for the sometimes ruthless game of chess. The funnier moments of the film come as the parents show more competitive spirit than the kids, making even a little league game look tame. This film explores how the stamp of genius may affect the life of an otherwise normal little boy. SEARCHING FOR BOBBY FISCHER, however, never captures your emotions quite as deeply as LITTLE MAN TATE did a few years ago. Some solid acting is wasted on describing the obscure and somewhat elitist world of chess playing.

With its somewhat plodding theme, however, comes only a smidgen of objectionable material. One somewhat comical fight between parents is stopped short after a brief wrestling match and there are two profanities. One day in Washington Park, Josh's mother sees a drug deal and they hurriedly leave, but the deal is neither prolonged nor condoned. Josh's father pushes his son pretty hard about chess during the first half of the movie, but later learns his lesson just in time for the state championships. Other than the two profanities, SEARCHING FOR BOBBY FISCHER could have easily been rated G, though it is not a story that young children would enjoy. While noting that it is marred by two profanities, we still are inclined to award SEARCHING FOR BOBBY FISCHER a crown of acceptability.

Preview Reviewer: Greg Wilson
Paramount Communications, Inc., 5555 Melrose Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90038

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: Once - Mild

Obscene Language: None

Profanity: Twice - Regular

Violence: One brief and somewhat comical 'wrestling match' between two irate parents

Sex: None

Nudity: None

Sexual Dialogue/Gesture: None

Drugs: None, though a sale of drugs is depicted but not condoned

Other: None

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Intended Audience:

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