John Q

MPAA Rating: PG-13

Entertainment: +2 1/2

Content: -2

John Q. Archibald (Denzel Washington), a desperate father, takes desperate measures when his dying son Mikey (Daniel E. Smith) is denied life-saving medical treatment. John and his wife Denise (Kimberly Elise) are awakened by their car being repossessed soon after Johns blue collar job has been cut back to 20 hours a week. When their much loved son collapses during a Little League softball game because of an enlarged heart, only a transplant can save him. Johns HMO refuses to pay for it, and, ignoring doctors advice to let go and let God, the Archibalds try but fail to raise the $250,000 needed. Feeling helpless and hopeless, John takes over the emergency room, threatening to shoot anyone who tries to escape. More like a TV movie, JOHN Qs unbelievable plot and preachiness may have moderate box office appeal, but its not likely to win critical acclaim.

JOHN Q makes an intense, dramatic plea for reform of our nations medical insurance coverage with its spaghetti-like tangle of paperwork, bureaucracy and rigid regulations. The Archibalds represent John Q Public, the innocent victims of a flawed system. Church-going, hard working and loving, John is willing to sacrifice everything for Mikey. His shocking attempt to force the heart transplant elicits sympathy from his hostages and the public, making John a hero. Police and hospital staff are portrayed as cold, indifferent and conniving. His gun threats, fights among the hostages resulting in painful kicks and bloody noses and an attempted assassination add to the drama of the situation. Dialogue is peppered with several regular profanities and many obscenities, mostly from the hostages. Preview cant give JOHN Q high marks for acceptability because of the foul language and its theme of solving problems by breaking the law and endangering lives.

Preview Reviewer: Mary Draughon
New Line Cinema, 888 7th Ave., 20th Fl., New York, NY 10106

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 (12) times Mild 1, Moderate 11

Obscene Language: Many (13) times - F-word 1, s-word 5, other 7

Profanity: Several (8) times Regular (J 2, GD 4, JC 2)

Violence: Several times Moderate (attempted assassination, fighting, bloody noses, painful kicks, mace-like spray used, gun threats, man shot in arm, battered woman)

Sex: None

Nudity: None

Sexual Dialogue/Gesture: None

Drugs: None

Other: Promotion of medical insurance reform; strong, loving family; misguided attempt to force surgery

Running Time: 118 minutes
Intended Audience: Teens and adults

Click HERE for a PRINTER-FRIENDLY version of this review.