Save The Last Dance

MPAA Rating: PG-13

Entertainment: +2

Content: -2

Seventeen-year-old Sara Johnson's (Julia Stiles) world is turned upside down when her mom is killed in an automobile accident. Devastated, she has no choice but to live with her father (Terry Kinney), a struggling musician in Chicago. Moving from a small town "where everybody knows your name" into an inner city apartment with a stranger she has nothing in common with, except DNA, overwhelms Sara. But, with surprising ease, she makes friends with Chenille (Kerry Washington), a young single mother, and her brother, Derek (Sean Patrick Thomas). Both are students in the virtually all-black high school. They introduce the new white girl into the hip-hop world of rap, slang and club dancing. As Derek and Saras relationship blossoms, he encourages her to follow her dream and apply for a ballet scholarship at Juilliard. But Derek becomes confused about where his loyalties lie - to his corrupt, drug-dealing friend, or pursuing a medical degree (duh). This unbelievable love story and the hip-hop music and dance scenes may draw teenagers, but that won't be enough to SAVE THE LAST DANCE at the box office.

Inter-racial dating takes a different viewpoint when Chenille tells Sara that the other girls in school resent her taking over smart, good-looking Derek. He plans to go to college, while most of their friends choose dealing drugs as the path to success. However, gang drive-by shootings, a teenage dealer slamming one of his high school customers against a wall, and a planned gang "payback" event do not glorify drugs or gang warfare. At a dance club, girls in tight-fitting, revealing dresses dance suggestively and Derek's former girlfriend, to humiliate Sara, attempts to seduce him on the dance floor. A classic ballet performance mimicking sexual movements, however, is much more erotic than the "dirty dancing" in the club. Sex is implied once when Sara invites Derek to stay with her overnight. Foul language seems excessive for a PG-13 rating. For dramatic effect, the f-word is used by Sara during an intense argument. But at least 36 s-words roll casually off teenagers' tongues. Sadly, uplifting messages of "follow your dreams" are buried in foul language and sexually suggestive dancing.

Preview Reviewer: Mary Draughon
Paramount Pictures, 5555 Melrose Ave., Hollywood, CA 90038

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 (26) times Mild 5, moderate 21

Obscene Language: Many (40) times - F-word 1, s-word 36, other 4

Profanity: Twice Regular (G)

Violence: Several times - Moderate (drive-by shootings with some bloody wounds shown, girl slammed into wall, fatal car crash, teenage girls get in fight, gang fights)

Sex: Implied once (girl invites boyfriend to spend night with her)

Nudity: Near Nudity - Several times (girls in tight-fitting/ revealing clothes, ballet dancers in clinging costumes)

Sexual Dialogue/Gesture: Many times (suggestive rap lyrics, sensual dancing, girl tries to seduce dance partner, passionate kissing, erotic ballet)

Drugs: Teenagers drink in club, references to drugs and drug activity

Other: Father attempts to heal relationship with daughter; group tensions develop over interracial dating

Running Time: 113 minutes
Intended Audience: Teens and adults

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