Light It Up

MPAA Rating: R

Entertainment: +2

Content: -4

In this new drama starring pop singing star Usher Raymond, six high school students take over their inner-city school in an attempt to get people to listen to them. And in a school with broken windows, no heat, and not enough books for every student, they have plenty to say. It all starts when Officer Jackson (Forest Whitaker) attempts to take a student to detention for being insubordinate. The student fights the officer, and in the struggle his gun goes off, hitting the policeman in the leg. Then Lester (Usher) decides that this is his opportunity to be heard, so he pulls the fire alarm, clears the school, and takes the injured officer hostage. Five other students join him, including Stephanie (Rosario Dawson), a smart student whose level head will be needed as the hostage situation develops. The police are called and the waiting begins. The six students must struggle through adversity, stress, and conflict to try and come out of the situation unscathed. With a story full of holes and some unrealistic scenes, LIGHT IT UP is just not very believable. However, the star power of Usher and heavy advertising should bring in the crowds on opening weekend.

It is surprising to see a film like this come out in the wake of recent incidents of school violence all across America. At least at a surface level, it promotes the idea that violence should be used when necessary. While this may be true on occasion, to produce a film with this message geared at least in part toward impressionable teenagers seems irresponsible at best. The poor educational situation presented in the movie is tragic and should be rectified, but that issue doesnt seem to be the main thrust of the story. The students seem to be more concerned with selfishly getting what they believe belongs to them rather than really improving the school. The film is filled with foul language, including 115 f and s words and many profanities, nearly all of which are spoken by the teens. The pervasive vulgar language requires a 4 acceptability rating according to PREVIEWs guidelines. This, along with what appears to be a potentially dangerous endorsement of school violence, puts the lights out on LIGHT IT UP.

Preview Reviewer: John Adair
20th Century Fox, 10201 W. Pico Blvd., LA, CA 90035

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 (34) times - Mild 13, Moderate 21

Obscene Language: Many (119) times (f-word 68, s-word 47, other 4)

Profanity: Many (15) times Regular 11 (GD 5, J 4, JC 1); Exclamatory (Oh G, Oh My G, My G)

Violence: Many times - Moderate (fights/scuffles, people shot, teen strangled)

Sex: None

Nudity: None

Sexual Dialogue/Gesture: Few times (reference to sex and self gratification, teen pregnant)

Drugs: Few times (smoking, drugs)

Other: Students use violence to get what they want, students look for meaning in life and something worth fighting for

Running Time: 103 minutes
Intended Audience: Older Teens & Adults

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