MPAA Rating: PG

Entertainment: +2 1/2

Content: -1

John Travolta plays George Malley, Mr. Nice Guy celebrating his 37th birthday. This handsome, single auto mechanic with average intelligence lives a simple life in a small California farming town. When he's struck by a powerful light from above as the clock strikes midnight, George becomes a genius with telekinetic powers. He devours books at an incredible rate and begins concocting his own inventions. The townsfolk laugh at first when he causes pencils to roll without touching them, then marvel when he begins speaking flawless Portuguese after reading a how to book for just 20 minutes. But eventually this well-liked, caring man is looked upon as a freak after he predicts an earthquake and breaks a mirror in the bar without touching it. George's life turns into a living hell as the FBI begins investigating him and researchers want access to his brain. What's really happening to George? PHENOMENON is part fantasy, part tragedy, and has some bright moments with Robert Duvall as the town doctor and Travolta's pleasant lead performance. Although some may find PHENOMENON slow-moving and too long, it could still be a popular summer film.

Certainly George Malley personifies goodness. Everyone considers him a good friend, but his three closest confidants are the doctor, a fellow bachelor Nate (Forest Whitaker) and eventually Lace, (Kyra Sedgwick), a single mother who initially resists George's warm-hearted courting. They stand by George as his world starts crashing in around him. George also shows great patience with Lace's children, but he uses a strange analogy to explain death to them. George tells them that when someone you love dies, it is like eating an apple it becomes a part of you forever. There is no mention of a Supreme Being or heaven. George's new-found intelligence and telekinetic powers are not supernatural gifts and are eventually explained in scientific terms. A few slightly suggestive remarks are made, and sex is implied twice when George finally wins the heart of Lace. In one scene they are shown in bed together, but there is no nudity. Rear male nudity occurs once when the doctor moons George from his office window. PHENOMENON's foul language seems excessive for a PG rated film, especially the seven regular profanities and five obscenities. That, plus the sexual involvement of an unmarried couple give this film a negative acceptability rating.

Preview Reviewer: Mary Draughon
Buena Vista Distribution, 500 S. Buena Vista St., Burbank, CA 91521

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) - Mild 10, Moderate 2

Obscene Language: Several (5) times - S-word 2, other 3)

Profanity: Several (9) times - Regular 7 (G-d, G, JC, J); Exclamatory 2

Violence: None

Sex: None but implied twice (no nudity)

Nudity: Once (rear male nudity)

Sexual Dialogue/Gesture: Few times (slightly suggestive references to sex)

Drugs: Few times (beer drinking and smoking)


Running Time: Unknown
Intended Audience: Teenagers and adults

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