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"PLAY IT TO THE BONE"
(1999) (Woody Harrelson, Antonio Banderas) (R)

Alcohol/
Drugs
Blood/Gore Disrespectful/
Bad Attitude
Frightening/
Tense Scenes
Guns/
Weapons
Moderate Moderate Heavy Minor None
Imitative
Behavior
Jump
Scenes
Music
(Scary/Tense)
Music
(Inappropriate)
Profanity
Mild None Minor None Extreme
Sex/
Nudity
Smoking Tense Family
Scenes
Topics To
Talk About
Violence
Extreme Mild Minor Mild Moderate


QUICK TAKE:
Drama: Two best friends and one-time boxing contenders travel to Las Vegas for a match between the two that might resurrect the winner's career.
PLOT:
Vince Boudreau (WOODY HARRELSON) and Cesar Dominguez (ANTONIO BANDERAS) are longtime friends and fellow boxers who've pretty much resigned their once promising careers in the sport to sparring at a low-end and dead end, Los Angeles gym.

Things suddenly look up, however, when the opening match contestants for the latest Mike Tyson championship bout can no longer participate. The fight's promoters, Hank Goody (ROBERT WAGNER), Joe Domino (TOM SIZEMORE) and their assistant, Artie (RICHARD MASUR), in a mad scramble to fill the bill in less than a day, choose Vince and Cesar since they're experienced and matched in weight.

Although Cesar is reluctant due to a prior bad experience with Joe, he agrees to compete. Vince, on the other hand, wants to fight, but negotiates with the sleaze ball promoters that the winner of their fight will get a chance at a later bout with the middleweight champ.

Needing a way to get from L.A. to Las Vegas, the guys ask Grace Pasic (LOLITA DAVIDOVICH), Cesar's current girlfriend and Vince's ex, for a ride. She reluctantly agrees, mainly because she's looking for investors for several of her inventions and figures Vegas might be a good place to find them. Besides, she still has a thing for both men and would like for both of them to win if that were possible.

Thus, the trio sets out for Vegas, eventually picking up an amorous and drug-hungry stranger, Lia (LUCY LIU), along the way. As they make their way through the desert toward their evening venue, their previously hidden desires and past failures are addressed as the two men prepare for their big fight and possible last chance at making it big in their sport.

WILL KIDS WANT TO SEE IT?
If they're fans of anyone in the cast, of boxing films, or of the sports-related films by writer/director Ron Shelton ("Bull Durham"), they might, but this one seems most likely attractive to older male teens at best.
WHY THE MPAA RATED IT: R
For brutal ring violence, strong sexuality including dialogue, nudity, pervasive language and some drug content.
CAST AS ROLE MODELS:
  • ANTONIO BANDERAS plays a boxer who gets dumped by his girlfriend as the story begins, uses strong profanity, and admits to having experimented with homosexuality in the past.
  • WOODY HARRELSON plays his best friend and fellow boxer, a man who also uses strong profanity, has repeated visions of Jesus, gets mad at Cesar for admitting to experimenting with homosexuality, and has sex with Lia, a stranger they just picked up.
  • LOLITA DAVIDOVICH plays an inventor looking for investors who agrees to drive her current and ex-boyfriend to Vegas. Along the way she uses strong profanity.
  • TOM SIZEMORE plays a sleazy boxing promoter who's only looking out for himself. He smokes, uses strong profanity and conspires to screw over Vince and Cesar.
  • ROBERT WAGNER plays a wealthy Vegas businessman who's in cahoots with Joe. He smokes some, tries cheating on his wife with Grace, and then backhands her when she wants nothing to do with him.
  • LUCY LIU plays a bitchy young woman who's hungry for drugs, has sex with Vince after just meeting him and uses strong profanity.
  • CAST, CREW, & TECHNICAL INFO

    HOW OTHERS RATED THIS MOVIE


    Curious if this title is entertaining, any good, and/or has any artistic merit?
    Then read OUR TAKE of this film.


    (Note: The "Our Take" review of this title examines the film's artistic merits and does not take into account any of the possibly objectionable material listed below).


    OUR WORD TO PARENTS:
    Here's a quick look at the content found in this R-rated sports drama. Profanity is extreme with more than 60 "f" words being used, along with plenty of other profanities and colorful phrases. A sexual encounter takes place that includes movement (in several positions) and related sounds, as well as a man manually stimulating a woman.

    Early scenes show two women in bed with a man and another with two women in bed together. Other sexually related comments are made (including many referring to a man's confession that he experimented with homosexuality) and several nonsexual scenes include nudity (many bare breasts, some bare male butts).

    During some of the boxing scenes, competitors are often pummeled in a rather brutal fashion (with related bloody results) and while some viewers will see that as being on par with the sport, others might see it as disturbing violence. A few, non-boxing related instances of hitting also occur in the film.

    Various characters have varying degrees of bad attitudes toward others, while some characters smoke and drink (with another wanting drugs and a miscellaneous character appearing to be drunk or high). Should you still be concerned about the film's appropriateness for yourself or anyone else in your home after reading that summary, you may want to more closely examine our more detailed content listings.


    ALCOHOL OR DRUG USE
  • We see a boxing contender drunk/high while in bed.
  • Vince talks about having a car accident when he was "wasted."
  • Grace comments that sometimes she's in the mood for a glass of wine.
  • After getting a ride to Vegas with Grace, Vince and Cesar, Lia asks if any of them has any coke (cocaine) or weed (marijuana).
  • Hank has a martini.
  • Lia comments about having a joint in her purse.
  • People have drinks in Hank's suite.
  • People have drinks in a bar and then later at a reception (including Grace and Hank).
  • BLOOD/GORE
  • A man who's been in a car accident is dead and somewhat bloody (we see the body but not the actual accident).
  • We see Cesar vomiting.
  • During the fight, Vince's eye is extremely swollen and somewhat bloody and Cesar has a bloody nose and mouth.
  • Later in the fight, Vince's face and chest are bloody from his wounds and even later his face is even bloodier.
  • Toward the end of the fight, both competitors are rather bloody.
  • Grace has a bit of a bloody lip after Hank backhands her.
  • DISRESPECTFUL/BAD ATTITUDE
  • Hank, Joe, Artie and their associates all have both types of attitudes as they're sleazy types related to the boxing business who try to cheat Vince and Cesar (with a fixed contract, etc.).
  • Some viewers may take offense with Vince stating that Jesus was an anarchist and that the first thing he'll do when he comes back is torch the Vatican.
  • Vince has a negative/demeaning reaction to Cesar stating that he once experimented with homosexuality.
  • Lia is mean and demeaning toward the man she's with after his car breaks down.
  • Vince writes some graffiti ("Jesus Loves You") on a bathroom wall (bad attitude for the graffiti part).
  • Some viewers may take offense at Cesar announcing that he's an atheist and making fun of Vince's religious visions (while others may take offense at such visions of Jesus as portrayed in this film).
  • In a flashback we see that Vince lost a fight due to some corrupt judges.
  • Lia has a bad attitude toward Grace, eventually causing Grace to punch her.
  • We see Lia steal singer Rod Stewart's wallet.
  • Despite being married, Hank tries putting the moves on Grace. When she refuses and then slaps him, he backhands her to the floor, calls her a bitch, and has security remove her from his building.
  • FRIGHTENING SCENES
  • Some viewers may find the final and rather brutal fight sequence as somewhat intense and/or unsettling.
  • GUNS/WEAPONS
  • None.
  • IMITATIVE BEHAVIOR
  • Phrases: "F*ck you," "For f*cks sakes," "Piece of sh*t," "Who gives a sh*t," "Laid," "Screw," "Hand job," "Blow job" (the last four all sexually related), "Bitch," "Ball breaker," "Idiot," "Cajones" (testicles), "Jerk," "Fag" (said many times), "Kiss my ass," "Chick," "Sucks," "Pissing," "Dirt bag," "Butt head," "I don't give a rat's ass," "Punk" and Kick his ass."
  • A bumper sticker on Grace's car states, "Bad ass girls have bad ass cars."
  • Vince writes some graffiti ("Jesus Loves You") on a bathroom wall.
  • Grace puts on fingernail polish while driving.
  • Vince imagines seeing the judges all giving him "the finger."
  • JUMP SCENES
  • None.
  • MUSIC (SCARY/TENSE)
  • A minor bit of suspenseful music plays during the film.
  • MUSIC (INAPPROPRIATE)
  • None.
  • PROFANITY
  • At least 66 "f" words (6 used with "mother," 2 used sexually as are several uses of the words/phrases "screw," "laid" and "lay"), 17 "s" words, 11 slang terms for/using male genitals ("d*ck" and "c*cks*cker"), 2 slang terms for female genitals ("p*ssy"), 14 asses (3 used with "hole"), 7 hells, 2 S.O.B.s, 1 damn and 8 uses of "G-damn," 5 of "Jesus Christ," 2 of "Oh my God" and 1 use each of "Christ," "For Christ's sakes" and "Jesus" as exclamations.
  • SEX/NUDITY
  • We see a drunk/high man in bed with two bare-breasted women.
  • We see two women in Hank's bed (he's not in it) and see part of one's bare butt.
  • A woman working with Joe and Hank shows some cleavage.
  • While Cesar sleeps in the backseat, Vince runs his hand along Grace's thigh and then starts to move it up toward her crotch but she stops him.
  • Cesar mentions that he was a "fag" for a while and Grace comments that there are many of them in boxing. When Vince gets upset about this revelation, Cesar states that he experimented for a while, causing Vince to say that "…if I had a d*ck up my ass…" he wouldn't need a year to figure out if he liked it or not. He then adds that nothing makes him want to "drop to my knees and suck some d*ck."
  • Vince makes a comment that if a person builds bridges all of their life and then "sucks d*ck" just once, they're not known as a bridge builder, but as a "c*cks*cker."
  • Cesar asks Grace who's the better lover between him and Vince (she states that Cesar is).
  • A classic Roman statue shows male full frontal nudity.
  • After asking if anyone (Grace, Vince or Cesar) has any drugs, she asks, "Anybody want to f*ck?"
  • Enticed by the above, Vince tells Cesar that he loves women with black hair and then goes fantasizing about having her white panties coming down and seeing her "black bush" greeting him. Vince says that he can't wait, but Cesar reminds him that fighters aren't supposed to get "laid" before a fight. After Vince comments on boxing and "p*ssy" going together, Cesar states that if Vince is getting "laid," then so is he.
  • We hear sexual sounds and then see Vince and Lia making out while standing with her legs spread around him and his pants off (we don't see his bare butt, however, because his shirt hangs down over it). We then see them moving around a garage with him still between her legs and her spanking him (along with some movement).
  • Knowing this is occurring, Cesar tells Grace, "I'm hungry for you, man…I want you to make love….sex…now" but she blows off his request. He then asks if they can have a "final screw" or if she'll give him a "hand job" or a "blow job." Cesar then comments on Vince "getting laid."
  • We then see Vince having sex from behind Lia with movement. When he's apparently done, she tells him to come back and take care of her. After Vince tells Grace that they need five more minutes, he goes back over to Lia and manually stimulates her genitals with his hand (not explicitly seen although we do occasionally and partially see his hand at her crotch). We do, however, see and hear her pleasured reaction to what he's doing to her.
  • Grace tells Lia that in a number of years she'll (Lia) be "sucked out" and "f*cked out."
  • After Lia makes a comment about Vince's "size" by holding her fingers spread apart, Cesar comments on the distance she indicated and Vince then spreads his fingers to indicate that he's larger than she suggested.
  • Grace wears a low-cut dress to the fight that shows a lot of cleavage (and a man later stares directly at it).
  • The woman carrying the sign indicating the round number of the fight wears a very high-cut outfit that shows part of her bare butt. We then see another such woman, and then see Vince's fantasy of her walking around the ring topless (thus we see her large, bare breasts). Vince then sees another topless ring girl.
  • Cesar then imagines seeing a man's bare butt in the ring and later fantasizes about a woman walking over and straddling his lap while he's seated between rounds.
  • We see more visions of topless women, including some cavorting with each other in the ring, and a woman in a thong bottom that shows most of her bare butt.
  • We see Vince and Cesar's bare butts as they shower after their match.
  • Grace states that she'd rather have a poor guy who knows how to make love to her, rather than a rich one who doesn't. A comment is then made about a "good lay," and Vince then asks what about an extremely poor guy (himself) who's only a "moderately good lay."
  • SMOKING
  • Joe (cigarettes) and Hank (cigars) smoke several times, while Grace smokes once and miscellaneous/background characters also smoke.
  • TENSE FAMILY SCENES
  • Grace briefly mentions that her mother died sometime relatively recently.
  • TOPICS TO TALK ABOUT
  • The sport of boxing.
  • Cesar's comment that he experimented with homosexuality and Vince's bad reaction to that.
  • VIOLENCE
  • In several flashbacks we see boxing related violence, and then the end of the movie contains far greater amounts of the two fighters pummeling each other with occasionally bloody results. (Note: If you think of boxing as a sport, the violence is par for the course. If you think boxing is nothing more than two men beating each other, you might view the degree of violence as more than "moderate").
  • A man who's been in a car accident is dead and somewhat bloody (we see the body but not the actual accident).
  • Vince backhands Cesar in a restaurant.
  • Vince and Cesar get into a brief pushing match until Grace stops them.
  • Grace punches Lia after the younger woman continually attempts to annoy her.
  • After Hank (who's married) repeatedly tries to come on to Grace, she slaps him. In turn, Hank backhands her, sending her to the floor.



  • Reviewed January 11, 2000 / Posted January 21, 2000

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