MPAA Rating: PG-13

Entertainment: +2

Content: -1 1/2

Mykelti Williamson, Antwan Big Boi Patton, Albert Daniels, Jackie Long. Comedy/drama/musical. Written by Gina Prince-Bythewood, Joe Robert Cole, Antwone Fisher, Tina Chism. Directed by Chris Robinson, IV.

ATL is a coming-of-age story about 4 teens from a working class neighborhood deeply involved in hip hop music and roller skating. The film addresses issues such as race relations, young love and facing adulthood. It does all this with varying degrees of success.

Director Chris Robinson keeps the action lively (some great roller skating footage) and infuses sensitive issues teenagers face as they get ready to depart school and enter the work place. But it is more a teen movie than for mature audiences, as it tells its story while allowing the hormonally charged protagonists, as well as the camera, to focus attention on their provocatively clad female counterparts.

It reminded me of a far better film I would suggest as a video alternative, Dancer, Texas Pop 81. Concerning many of the same issues, Dancer, Texas Pop 81 is an engaging comic drama about four graduating high school chums set to leave their teeny, tiny town due to a vow they made in grade school. Good technical aspects, fine performances by the unknown cast, and what a pleasure to see a film about teens without the usual crudity, exploitation and profane language.

Preview Reviewer: Phil Boatwright
Warner Bros.

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: There are a few crude sexual comments, but comparatively clean for a film about todays youth searching for direction.

Obscene Language: There are around 25 minor expletives, such as damn and ass, while the s-word is employed approximately 20 times in order to express frustration.

Profanity: I caught one misuse of Gods name.

Violence: There are a couple of fist fights and occasional hostility between loving brothers, the younger getting involved in drug sales until the older brother makes a sacrifice in order to save him. Blood: A teen is bloodied in a fight.

Sex: There are two sexual situations, both involving teen couples.

Nudity: None

Sexual Dialogue/Gesture: There is a lot of sexual innuendo and references to portions of the female body.

Drugs: A kid in his mid-teens goes to work for a drug dealer, getting in over his head. However, the use of drugs and involvement in its sales are put down in the film.

Other: The film is trying to say something positive about honor, friendship, while being anti drug. Beware, however, it does exploit sexuality.

Running Time: 110 minutes
Intended Audience: Older teens and adults

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