Pay It Forward

MPAA Rating: PG-13

Entertainment: +3

Content: -2

PAY IT FORWARD, a very moving and uplifting story, revolves around a 7th grade school teacher in Las Vegas, an 11-year-old boy in his class and the boys mother. Eugene Simonet (Kevin Spacey) gives his students an assignment to find something in the world that needs changing and try to change it. Eleven-year-old Trevor McKinney (Haley Joel Osment) takes the assignment seriously and decides to try an activity, learned from his grandmother, called Pay It Forward. The game requires that he help three individuals and these individuals, in turn, must help three other people. After having very little luck, he decides to help his mother, Arlene (Helen Hunt). Separated from her husband and struggling to support herself and Trevor, Arlene works as a waitress in a strip bar. Trevor manages a meeting between Eugene and his mother and does everything he can to encourage their relationship. But Eugene has his own reasons for hesitating to cultivate the acquaintance. All the while, an enterprising reporter tries to learn more about the Pay It Forward concept which becomes fairly widespread in the town. As Trevor and Arlene struggle to survivetheir hard times, the difficult relationship between Eugene and Arlene also struggles to survive. This well-acted, emotionally powerful film will undoubtedly draw substantial audiences.

Although Arlene has many personal problems and weaknesses, she loves Trevor and is determined to be a good mother. And Eugene is a dedicated teacher who wants to inspire his students. The concept of helping others is uplifting and a welcome relief from more self-serving themes in many of todays movies. It is also encouraging to see the Las Vegas townspeople respond favorably to Trevors explanation of the Pay It Forward concept on a TV program, as well as his sacrificial devotion to the activity. The rough, school environment and some language spoken by the students is undoubtedly realistic, including some young boys twice beating up a classmate and using at least 20 s-words and regular profanities. However, foul language could have been greatly subdued without destroying the realism of the story. Eugene and Arlene also become involved in a sexual affair which is portrayed favorably. PAY IT FORWARD has strong redeeming values for older teen and adult audiences, so its regrettable that the producers felt it necessary to include foul language and a condoned extramarital affair in this otherwise positive film.

Preview Reviewer: John Evans
Warner Bros., 4000 Warner Blvd., Burbank, CA 91522

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 (19) times - Mild 5, moderate 14

Obscene Language: Many (25) times - S-word 20, other 5

Profanity: Several (10) times Regular 7 (GD 3, C 2, J 2); Exclamatory 3 (OMG)

Violence: Several times Moderate (mother slaps son, boys beat up classmate, boys fight, boy stabbed, car damaged, man threatens woman)

Sex: Implied once (man and woman in bed, no nudity)

Nudity: None; Near nudity - Several times (female dancers wear revealing costumes, woman wears low cut blouses)

Sexual Dialogue/Gesture: Several times (women performers dance sensually, couple discuss desire for sex, woman talks suggestively with men in club)

Drugs: Several times (alcoholic women drink whiskey, man overdoses on drugs, people drink in club, homeless woman drinks whiskey)

Other: Man helps ailing girl in hospital, gambling in casinos, unmarried man and woman live together, boy helps others, people respond favorably to message about helping others

Running Time: 125 minutes
Intended Audience: Older teens and adults

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