Wonder Boys

MPAA Rating: R

Entertainment: +2 1/2

Content: -2 1/2

Professor Grady Tripp (Michael Douglas) wrote a best-selling book and now encourages students in his creative writing class. One student, however, stands out. James Leer (Tobey Maguire) writes depressing stories hated by his classmates, but Grady recognizes the potential talent. During the week of the annual literary festival at the college, however, Grady has other problems. Hes having an affair with the school chancellor (Frances McDormand), whos also the wife of the English department chairman, and shes pregnant. Gradys publisher, Perry Crabtree (Robert Downey Jr.), is coming to town to see how his unfinished second book is doing. And while Grady is showing James one of the chairmans prized possessions - a jacket worn by Marilyn Monroe - James shoots the chairmans dog as it attacks Grady. The understated, situational humor keeps the audience chuckling as Grady tries to sort out his life. A nice comical turn for Douglas, WONDER BOYS should draw moderate crowds.

Although Grady encourages his students, his personal life is a mess. His wife leaves him, hes involved in an adulterous affair and he blacks out under stress. Hes also shown frequently smoking marijuana. He even offers the drug to James and another student. Grady defends his use when a female student suggests he smokes too much, but he later gives it up. Crabtree shows up with a transvestite date and is later seen in bed with James. And Grady delays telling about the dog and the stolen jacket until forced to admit his involvement. Despite the creative writing venue, vocabulary is frequently limited to regular profanity and obscenity. Although sexual affairs are referenced and a female student implies her willingness to have sex with Grady, no sex or nudity is shown. But the frequent drug use, condoned homosexual and adulterous activity, and gutter language take WONDER BOYS into a moral wasteland.

Preview Reviewer: Paul Bicking
Paramount Pictures, 5555 Melrose Ave., Las Angeles, 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 (10) times Mild 5, moderate 5

Obscene Language: Many (25) times F-word 8, s-word 12, other 5

Profanity: Many (18) times Regular 15 (G1, J 7, C 4, GD 1, Csake 1), exclamatory 3 (OG 2, OMG)

Violence: Few times - Moderate (dog bites mans leg, bloody ankle, dog shot - not shown, gun threat, mild car wreck)

Sex: None

Nudity: None; Near Nudity - few times (low cut blouse, woman bra-less in T-shirt)

Sexual Dialogue/Gesture: Couple falls on bed, female student flirts with teacher, sensual kisses

Drugs: Many times - marijuana smoked, alcohol

Other: Adulterous affair, woman considers abortion, teacher encourages student

Running Time: 118 minutes
Intended Audience: Adults

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