[Screen It]


(2000) (Pilar Padilla, Adrien Brody) (R)

Blood/Gore Disrespectful/
Bad Attitude
Tense Scenes
Mild None Extreme *Minor *Minor
Moderate None None Heavy Extreme
Smoking Tense Family
Topics To
Talk About
Heavy Minor Mild Heavy Mild

Drama: An illegal Mexican immigrant finds herself caught up in an organized labor movement after she takes a janitorial job in a non-union building.
Maya (PILAR PADILLA) is an illegal Mexican immigrant who's been smuggled over the Tijuana border thanks to the efforts of her sister, Rosa (ELPIDIA CARRILLO), who reluctantly gets her a job working with her as a janitor cleaning an office building in Los Angeles. There, she meets other janitors who are pretty much in the same boat as her, along with Ruben (ALONSO CHAVEZ) who wants to go to law school but needs to earn enough money to qualify for a partial scholarship.

She also meets Sam Shapiro (ADRIEN BRODY), a local pro-union activist who's trying to get the building's janitors to join his Janitors For Justice campaign and become unionized. His actions don't sit well with Mr. Perez (GEORGE LOPEZ), their mean and condescending boss, or Rosa who's concerned about the ramifications of such an organized labor movement. Nevertheless, and particularly after seeing how Perez treats her coworkers, Maya forges ahead with Sam, hoping to improve her and the others' working conditions.

Unless they're fans of someone in the cast or films by director Ken Loach, it's highly unlikely.
For strong language and brief nudity.
  • PILAR PADILLA plays an illegal Mexican immigrant to the U.S. who joins a janitorial union movement after working for an unfair boss. She uses strong profanity and robs a store in one scene to get money for a friend who needs it for his education.
  • ADRIEN BRODY plays a union activist who tries to get Maya and her coworkers to join a union and protest their current working conditions. He organizes various protests and crashes various events to get their point across. He also uses strong profanity.
  • ELPIDIA CARRILLO plays Maya's sister who arranges for her to be snuck across the border and helps her get a janitorial job. She wants nothing to do with a union, uses strong profanity, and admits to prostituting herself in the past and present (to get money for her family back in Mexico and get Maya a job respectively).
  • GEORGE LOPEZ plays the janitors' mean and condescending boss who threatens them with serious repercussions if they continue with their pro-union activities. He also uses strong profanity.
  • ALONSO CHAVEZ plays one of Maya's fellow janitors who doesn't want to join a union as he needs just a little bit more money to go to law school and feels he can't jeopardize his chances.


    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).

    he following is a brief summary of the content found in this R-rated drama. Profanity is rated as extreme due to at least 99 uses of the "f" word (some in Spanish with English subtitles and vice-versa), while plenty of other expletives and colorful phrases are also used. Some dialogue in one scene is sexually explicit (as a woman relates prostituting herself), while some songs have objectionable material.

    A man takes an illegal immigrant back to a motel room to have sex when her sister doesn't have enough money to pay for her freedom, and we see this man's bare butt on several occasions but nothing sexual ultimately occurs between them (although she initially plays along like she's going to have sex, but does so only to make him lower his guard). She and another man then later make out and it's somewhat implied that they have sex or fool around more heavily (but none of that latter part is seen).

    Various characters have varying degrees of bad attitudes, some drink, and some tense family moments are present as is some behavior that could be imitated. Violence consists of some pushing, a few men slipping and falling on a slippery floor and video footage of police striking some protestors with their nightsticks. The film also contains various topics to discuss, including illegal immigrants (and how they're treated), unions and prostituting oneself to earn money.

    Should you still be concerned about the film and its appropriateness for yourself or anyone in your family who may want to see it, we suggest that you take a closer look at our detailed content listings for more specific examples of what occurs in it.

  • People drink in a bar where Maya briefly works.
  • Sam and Maya drink tequila at his place.
  • Sam drinks another man's wine when he and others interrupt some business people's lunches (where others have wine).
  • Some people drink beer at a party.
  • People have drinks at a party.
  • None.
  • Various disreputable men help Maya and other illegal immigrants sneak across the border. Then, when Rosa can't come up with enough money to pay for Maya's freedom, those men decide to keep Maya and flip a coin over who will get to have sex with her.
  • A man rudely tells a woman to lose some weight.
  • Some men in a bar are disrespectful to Maya who's working there as a waitress (they say that they've heard that women from Mexico City are sluts). In turn, she replies that she heard that all of the men from Guatemala are "fairies."
  • Mr. Perez is a mean and condescending boss to the many janitorial workers. He tells Rosa that his "commission" for hiring her is her first month's salary (and we learn that he gave her the job due to Rosa sleeping with him) and that the others who work for him are "old f*cking hags." He sarcastically states that he wants some "cripples" to work for him and threatens the workers with retribution if they try to join the janitors union.
  • Various people look down on Maya and the other janitorial workers.
  • Some may see Sam's tactics as displaying bad attitudes (breaking into buildings to get the names of the janitors, disrupting events and meetings along the lines of a social demonstration, etc.).
  • Maya steals money from a store to pay for Ruben's school bills.
  • Some may find the scenes where Maya is smuggled across the border and then taken away to have sex with one of those handlers (when Rosa doesn't come up with enough money to "buy" her freedom) as tense or unsettling.
  • Knife: Possibly pulled out by one of the men that smuggled Maya across the border.
  • Phrases (some in Spanish with English subtitles, some in English): "Shut the f*ck up," "F*ck off," "What the f*ck /did he say/for/is going on/is this?" "Don't give a f*ck" "F*cking bitch," "Old f*cking hags," "For f*ck's sake," "Give him a f*cking break," "Pretty f*cking smart," "Get the f*ck out /of here," "I f*cked up," "Where the f*ck do you think you're going?" "You f*cking d*ckhead," "Tough sh*t," "You're so full of sh*t," "Bullsh*t," "Don't give me any/that sh*t," "Sh*thole," "Jack sh*t," "I don't give a sh*t," "Laid" (sexual), "Bitch" (said many times by men to women), "What the hell /do you know/is going on?" "Bastard," "Shut up," "Sluts," "Bad ass," "Who the hell /are you/do you think you are?" "Nuts" (crazy), "Cripples" (for disabled people), "Idiots," "Pissed off," "Balls" (testicles), "Get your asses back over there," "They're crawling up my ass," "Piss," "Screwed" (nonsexual) and "Whore."
  • Maya gives the finger to one of the men who helped smuggle her across the border.
  • Maya pushes many different floor buttons in an elevator and then runs and hides (so that the business tenants who look down upon them will have to stop at every floor while traveling to their destination).
  • To elude some security guards who are chasing him, Sam throws a bucket of wax-filled water onto a floor, causing those other men to slip and fall (in a pratfall type fashion).
  • Sam and others interrupt some business people's lunch to make a point to them and then do the same at a law firm's merger party/celebration.
  • Maya acts like she finds a body in a store's bathroom so that she can then suddenly lock the clerk/manager in the bathroom and steal money from the register.
  • None.
  • None.
  • A song that plays in Spanish (with English subtitles) has lyrics where the singer states that he enough ammunition for anyone and includes the "f" word and the term "balls" (for testicles).
  • Another song uses the terms "G-damn" and "Wetbacks" and decries America's immigration laws.
  • The following occurs in Spanish with English subtitles and vice-versa: At least 99 "f" words (10 used sexually, 8 used with "mother"), 31 "s" words, 4 slang terms using male genitals ("c*ck," "d*ck," "d*ckhead" and "pr*ck"), 1 slang term using female genitals ("c*nt"), 10 assess (2 used with "hole"), 7 hells, 3 S.O.B.s, 7 uses of "G-damn," 3 of "Christ," 2 of "Jesus Christ" and 1 use of "Oh my God" as exclamations.
  • After Rosa can't come up with enough money to free Maya from the men who smuggled her across the border, one of them comments that one of them is going to "get laid tonight." The men then flip a coin to see who gets to have sex with Maya.
  • The winner then takes Maya to a hotel room and lies down (clothed) on the bed. She then fakes playing along and takes off his boots and he then undresses to take a shower (we see his bare butt as he gets into the shower - from both a rear and sideways view). While she washes his back, she also extracts the room key from his pants and then hits the road before anything else happens. When he runs out to see where she went, we see his bare butt again.
  • Maya shows a little cleavage.
  • Maya pulls Sam into an empty room and starts to passionately kiss him. He says that he can't do that, but she keeps kissing him until he finally goes along with it. Although we don't see anything else, it's implied that they fooled around to a greater degree and/or had sex.
  • Rosa admits to Maya that she was a "whore" to raise money for her family back in Mexico and goes on saying that she "sucked their c*cks" and something about that she could "f*ck the world." She then says that she "f*cked" Perez so that Maya could get a job.
  • A miscellaneous person smokes.
  • There are some tense family moments between Maya and Rosa as they come to differ on the whole union issue and Maya learns about what Rosa did in the past (prostituting herself) for her and their family.
  • Illegal immigrants, what rights they should or should not be afforded, and how others treat such people (in one scene Ruben comments that their janitorial uniforms make them invisible to those who work in the buildings they clean).
  • The jobs such people are offered.
  • The pros and cons of belonging to a union.
  • Women who prostitute themselves (Rosa admits to doing that to earn money to send back to her family in Mexico and to get Maya a job).
  • One of the men that smuggled Maya across the border pushes her back into a van when Rosa doesn't have enough money to pay for her "freedom" (and it looks like he pulled out a knife, but it happened only very briefly).
  • To elude some security guards who are chasing him, Sam throws a bucket of wax-filled water onto a floor, causing those other men to slip and fall (in a pratfall type fashion).
  • Perez briefly pushes one man.
  • We see video footage of police hitting various protestors with their nightsticks/batons.

  • Reviewed May 7, 2001 / Posted June 1, 2001

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