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"PHONE BOOTH"
(2003) (Colin Farrell, Forest Whitaker) (R)

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


QUICK TAKE:
Suspense/Thriller: A sniper pins down a New York publicist in a phone booth to make him see the error of his ways.
PLOT:
Stu Shepard (COLIN FARRELL) is a hustling New York publicist whose life is built around lies and conducting business over the phone. That includes stopping in an out of the way phone booth to call his girlfriend, Pamela McFadden (KATIE HOLMES), so that his wife, Kelly (RADHA MITCHELL), won't see the calls on his cell phone bill.

He makes the mistake, however, of answering a call in the booth from a stranger (voice of KIEFER SUTHERLAND) who seems to know a great deal about Stu and his way of life. He also turns out to be a sniper with a rifle who warns and proves that he'll shoot him if he hangs up. Stu tries to talk his way out of the situation, but the caller is too savvy for that and seems to relish making Stu squirm. He also wants Stu to call Pam and Kelly and tell them the truth.

Things get more complicated when the sniper shoots and kills a pimp who was harassing Stu about using his hookers' phone. That ends up drawing the police and Capt. Ramey (FOREST WHITAKER) who tries to figure out what's going on.

With the caller not allowing Stu to state what's occurring, the situation becomes more tense, especially when the sniper threatens to shoot various people including Kelly and then Pam who show up after seeing Stu on the news. From that point on, Stu must decide what to do and how to deal with the caller, all while Ramey tries to resolve the situation.

WILL KIDS WANT TO SEE IT?
If they're fans of someone in the cast or director Joel Schumacher, they just might.
WHY THE MPAA RATED IT: R
For pervasive language and some violence.
CAST AS ROLE MODELS:
  • COLIN FARRELL plays a hustler publicist who finds himself trapped in a phone booth by a sniper. He uses strong profanity, is cheating on his wife (or planning on doing so), lies to others and smokes a few times.
  • KIEFER SUTHERLAND supplies the voice of the caller/sniper who kills several people, uses some profanity and terrorizes Stu into making amends in his life.
  • FOREST WHITAKER plays the police captain who shows up on the scene and tries to prevent things from getting out of control. He uses some profanity.
  • RADHA MITCHELL plays Stu's wife who's shocked by the various developments and revelations.
  • KATIE HOLMES plays Stu's young lover who's similarly shocked by what occurs as well as learning that Stu is married.
  • 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:
    The following is a quick look at the content found in this R-rated suspense thriller. Profanity consists of at least 122 "f" words, while other expletives and colorful phrases are also used. Some brief, but sexually explicit dialogue is present, as are some hookers (who show cleavage) and some signage for porn and adult stores.

    A sniper pins down a man in a phone booth and threatens to kill him and others (and that's pretty much the entire movie). He kills several people (some seen in flashback, one on camera and one off) and wounds another. Some of that has bloody results and those scenes and the overall situation might be unsettling, tense or suspenseful to viewers. Various characters have varying degrees of bad attitudes.

    Some brief tense family material is present (regarding strained or failed marriages), a few people smoke, and a character briefly reacts to pain killers given to him by a paramedic. Should you still be concerned about the film's appropriateness for yourself or anyone else in your home, you may want to look more closely at our detailed listings for more specific information regarding the film's content.


    ALCOHOL OR DRUG USE
  • Stu mentions some guy tossing his wife back into drug rehab.
  • An upset restaurant or club guy tells Stu no more drinks for him (since he hasn't brought him any business).
  • Paramedics give Stu some sort of pain killer that causes him to have double vision.
  • BLOOD/GORE
  • A man's shirt is bloody after he's been shot.
  • Stu has blood on his ear, down his neck and on his shirt after the sniper purposefully fires a shot that nicks his ear.
  • We see a mortally wounded man on the floor with blood on him and the carpet. Later, we see some blood on the gurney that carries his body.
  • We see a bruise on a man's abdomen from a rubber bullet.
  • DISRESPECTFUL/BAD ATTITUDE
  • Stu is cheating on his wife with Pam (or is at least planning on doing so) and calls Pam from a phone booth (after taking off his wedding ring) so that his wife can't find any record of the calls. He also lies to others.
  • Stu is mean and disrespectful to a pizza delivery guy.
  • The caller/sniper obviously has extreme cases of both for pinning down Stu in the booth as well as killing several people.
  • FRIGHTENING SCENES
  • Scenes listed under "Violence" might also be unsettling or suspenseful to some viewers, particularly those affected in any way by the recent sniper incidents in the greater Washington, DC area.
  • In addition, once Stu is trapped in the phone booth with a sniper watching him, aiming at various others, and police aiming their guns at him, that entire situation might be the same to some viewers (and that's the rest of the movie).
  • Various hookers harass Stu in trying to get him out of their business phone booth (but he can't leave lest the sniper shoot him). Their pimp (or related man) then comes over, harasses Stu and then returns with a baseball bat that he uses to smash the glass. He then grabs Stu around the head and repeatedly hits him until the sniper shoots him in the back, fatally wounding him.
  • At various points in the film, we the see the scope view of the sniper rifle trained on various people (or the red dot of the laser light from it).
  • The caller makes Stu do various things that could potentially cause the police to shoot him (Stu), such as reaching for a gun that's located in the ceiling of the phone booth.
  • The police race toward a room they believe contains the sniper, but then find a mortally wounded and bloody man on the floor.
  • GUNS/WEAPONS
  • Sniper rifle/Handgun/Automatic weapons: Aimed and/or used to threaten, wound or kill others. See "Violence" for details.
  • IMITATIVE BEHAVIOR
  • Phrases: "F*ck 'em," "That was f*cking brilliant," "F*ck off," "Who the f*ck is this?" "Total f*cking loser," "You're f*cking kidding me," "Don't f*cking do this," "Hang up the f*cking phone, nigger" (what a black woman says to Stu - who's white), "Shut the f*ck up," "Get the f*ck out of here," "Stop f*cking with my head," "What the f*ck /are you doing?" "You sick f*ck," "Go f*ck yourself," "Holy sh*t," "That was funny sh*t," "Bullsh*t," "Bitch" (said many times toward a man), "The higher the monkey climbs, the more you see of his ass," "Nutcase," "Shut up," "Go to hell," "Balls" (testicles) and "Pissing."
  • Stu gives the caller "the finger."
  • JUMP SCENES
  • None.
  • MUSIC (SCARY/TENSE)
  • A moderate amount of suspenseful music plays in the film.
  • MUSIC (INAPPROPRIATE)
  • None.
  • PROFANITY
  • At least 122 "f" words (12 used with "mother," 3 used sexually), 19 "s" words, 2 slang terms using male genitals ("d*ck" and "pr*ck"), 1 for breasts ("t*ts"), 12 asses (3 used with "hole"), 2 hells, 1 damn, 1 S.O.B., 6 uses of "G-damn," 3 each of "Jesus" and "Oh my God," 2 each of "For God's sakes," "God" and "Jesus Christ" and 1 use of "Oh God" as exclamations.
  • SEX/NUDITY
  • Across from the phone booth are various sex shops (one named "Sextuff") and we see signs for erotic entertainment and topless dancers. We also see some hookers in their bras out on the street as well as a neon sign in the form of a nude woman (nothing explicit).
  • A hooker shows a lot of cleavage. When she bangs on the phone booth trying to make Stu leave, she then complains that he "made me hurt my d*ck hand."
  • The sniper calls Pam and says that Stu invited her to hotels so that she'd sleep with him.
  • The sniper wants Stu to tell Kelly that Stu wants to sleep with other women (but he doesn't say that).
  • The sniper tells Stu to ask Ramey if the captain's wife got tired of sleeping with him (Ramey) and whether he couldn't satisfy her. Stu then asks, "You couldn't satisfy your wife sexually?" The caller then demands, "Ask him if he abuses himself now that she's gone. Does he masturbate on those lonely nights?" Stu then asks, "Do you whack off now?"
  • The caller asks Stu, "How many times have you had sex with Pam in that hotel bedroom...in your head?" Moments later, he wants Stu to admit (about Pam) that he "wanted to f*ck her." Stu then says he wanted to sleep with her, but the caller demands that he use the phrase he stated, so Stu does.
  • SMOKING
  • Stu smokes a few times as do some miscellaneous characters.
  • TENSE FAMILY SCENES
  • Stu is cheating on his wife with Pam (or is planning on doing so) and calls Pam from a phone booth (after taking off his wedding ring) so that his wife can't find any record of the calls. Kelly later learns of his indiscretions.
  • Ramey states he's recently lost his marriage.
  • TOPICS TO TALK ABOUT
  • Snipers.
  • Infidelity.
  • Admitting one's faults and mistakes.
  • The film as a morality play of sorts.
  • VIOLENCE
  • The sniper shoots and destroys a small toy robot near the phone booth.
  • We see a flashback image of two people being killed by the sniper's shots (stylized and nothing graphic).
  • A pimp (or related man) comes over, harasses Stu and then returns with a baseball bat that he uses to smash the phone booth's glass. He then grabs Stu around the head and repeatedly hits him until the sniper shoots him in the back, fatally wounding him (he stumbles off and falls to the street with blood on the back of his shirt).
  • The sniper nicks Stu's ear with a shot, bloodying it.
  • Ramey pushes another cop backwards.
  • Stu is shot and falls to the street (but it was with a rubber bullet that only ends up bruising him).
  • The police find a mortally wounded and bloody man on the floor (and they report that his throat was slashed).



  • Reviewed March 21, 2003 / Posted April 4, 2003

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