Jack the Bear

MPAA Rating: PG-13

Entertainment: +2 1/2

Content: -2

TV horror show host and comedian John Leary(Danny DeVito) has lost his wife in an accident. He now must care for this teenage son, Jack (Robert Steinmiller) and his younger brother, Dillon. They live in a run down neighborhood in Oakland, California, where a mentally disturbed veteran, Norman (Gary Sinise), scares the kids and generally makes everyone uneasy. Leary isn't happy either and is just barely hanging on to his job at the TV station. He entertains the neighborhood kids with his monster antics, but insists that monsters aren't real. Needless to say, Halloween is a big event at his house. Things go from bad to worse when young Dillon and Norman disappear together. Jack the Bear tries hard to be funny, but turns out to be rather melancholy. John tries various horror gags on his TV show to entertain his viewers, but doesn't seem to succeed very well. However, DeVito gives his usual fine performance, which accounts for most of the film's appeal.

In spite of his preoccupation with horror phenomena, Leary sincerely attempts to be a good father to his boys. More often than not, he falls short and lives a rather unstable existence accompanied by frequent drinking. On his TV show, his horror gags include a simulated cutting off of his tongue, a man with a fake bloody ax in his head and splashing blood on a man's eyeglasses. Happily, the story doesn't have any crude sexual content, but some obscenities and several regular profanities are spoken, often by young Jack. Young persons using foul language appears to be an accelerating trend in recent films. The portrayal of horror in a comical context and the seemingly ever-present obscenities and profanities are disturbing. On the other hand, the love which John has for his sons and their family loyalty is inspiring. Like many other current day films, JACK THE BEAR is a paradoxical mixture of both commendable and offensive elements.

Preview Reviewer: John Evans
20th Century Fox, P. O. Box 900, Beverly Hills, CA, 90213

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 6, Moderate 1

Obscene Language: Few (4) Times (s-word 3, f-word 1)

Profanity: Many (11) Times - Regular 8, Exclamatory 3

Violence: Several Times - Moderate (striking; threats; dog threats; comical bloody injuries on TV; auto damaged)

Sex: None

Nudity: None

Sexual Dialogue/Gesture: None

Drugs: Several Times (Alcohol drinking, once by teenager)

Other: Threats and fighting on TV horror movies, comical horror and gore used to entertain, man explains that monsters aren't real

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