People vs. Larry Flynt, The

MPAA Rating: R

Entertainment: +2 1/2

Content: -3 1/2

This biopic focuses primarily on the courtroom battles of Larry Flynt, the world famous publisher of pornography. A Kentucky grade-school dropout, Flynt begins operating strip clubs in Ohio, where he meets his wife, free-spirited Althea Leasure (Courtney Love). He decides to publish a men's magazine with more explicit pictures than those in "Playboy," and his porn magazine "Hustler" is born. That leads to various court appearances on obscenity charges, and during one trial Flynt is paralyzed by a sniper's bullet. Later he's imprisoned for refusing to identify the source of an FBI tape and sued by Jerry Falwell because of a satirical, degrading account of Falwell's first sexual experience. Eventually Flynt appeals a verdict against him to the Supreme Court and wins a precedent-setting decision on the right to free speech. The movie provides an interesting character study, but tries to paint Flynt as a hero and a stalwart defender of the First Amendment. It appears more likely that his primary motivation was to promote Larry Flynt.

Even with its many courtroom scenes, the film has plenty of sexually explicit material. Nudity is prevalent in various forms - strip club scenes, photo shoots, magazine pictures and obscene cartoons. One graphic scene shows Flynt having sex with three women, including his wife, in a hot tub. Flynt is influenced by evangelist Ruth Carter Stapleton, proclaiming that he's born again and getting baptized. It only motivates him to clean up his magazine slightly, however, as he even proposes showing nude women posed on crosses. His "faith" is quickly erased by the sniper's bullet, as Flynt declares that there is no God. Suprisingly, religious figures, including Stapleton and Rev. Falwell, are portrayed respectfully. However, add in frequent crudities, obscenities and regular profanities and you have a film with little redeeming value. It's a shame that a man who promotes degenerate behavior through his publications is glorified, while so many true champions of America's freedoms deserve to be promoted.

Preview Reviewer: Mark Perry
Columbia Pictures, 10202 Washington Blvd., Culver City, CA 90232

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 (24) times - Mild 13, Moderate 11

Obscene Language: Many (45) times - (f-word 25, s-word 8, other 12)

Profanity: Many (14) times - Regular 10 (J 3, G-d 2, JC 3, G 1, for Christ sake 1), Exclamatory 4

Violence: Few times - Moderate (man hits woman, men shot, pictures of war victims)

Sex: Once (graphic scene, man in hot tub with three women); implied once (sounds heard outside office door)

Nudity: Incessant, often explicit (rear female and male nudity, female breast and frontal nudity, frontal male nudity in picture and obscene cartoon)

Sexual Dialogue/Gesture: Few times - strippers dance suggestively, woman propositions man

Drugs: Few times - smoking, alcohol drinking; man takes painkiller overdose, woman abuses drugs

Other: Apparently accurate but unverified docudrama; Christian leaders portrayed neutrally

Running Time: 127 minutes
Intended Audience: Adults

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