[Screen It]


(2000) (John Travolta, Lisa Kudrow) (R)

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

Comedy: A TV weatherman and the state lotto ball girl conspire to rig the lottery drawing and then pick the winning numbers, only to find their plan complicated by an assortment of dimwitted or otherwise ruthless people who want a cut of the action.
It's 1988 and things aren't going well for Harrisburg, PA TV weatherman Russ Richards (JOHN TRAVOLTA). Although he's a local celebrity, has a permanently reserved table at one of the diners and dreams of becoming a TV game show host, he's facing a foreclosure on his home. It seems that he's overextended himself by opening a snowmobile dealership only to discover -- along with Larry (MICHAEL WESTON), his faithful employee - that the uncommonly mild winter has resulted in zero sales.

After station manager Dick Simmons (ED O'NEILL) refuses to give Russ a raise or loan him any money, the desperate weatherman turns to Gig (TIM ROTH), a local strip club owner who knows a thing or too about raising money in less than scrupulous ways. When their concocted insurance scam is busted, however, not only does that not help Russ' situation, but it also puts him on bad terms with Dale "The Thug" Wagstaff (MICHAEL RAPAPORT), the hit man Gig repeatedly turns to for such criminal activity.

As such, Gig then gives Russ his latest advice on how to make money. Since the state lotto drawing is held in the very TV station where Russ works, and he's casually sleeping with Crystal Latroy (LISA KUDROW), the on air lotto girl who draws the lucky numbers, Gig suggests they rig the lotto and take home the winnings.

Soon, Crystal is on the scam and has employed her asthmatic cousin, Walter (MICHAEL MOORE), to play the fixed numbers, cash in the winning $6.4 million ticket, and split the money. While they get away with the drawing, things quickly spiral out of control as loose lips and greed soon have more people involved, such as local bookie Jerry Green (RICHARD SCHIFF), as well as less than enthusiastic police Lt. Pat Lakewood (BILL PULLMAN) and his partner, Chambers (DARYL MITCHELL).

With their plan progressively becoming more complicated and the various involved parties jockeying to get a cut of the action, Russ and Crystal try to figure out how to regain control of the situation and the money, all without being exposed or going to jail.

If they're fans of anyone in the high profile cast, they probably will, although preteens probably won't be much interested in it.
For language, sexuality, some drug use and brief violence.
Considering the criminal/bad behavior, strong profanity, casual sex, drug use and other such material, it's highly unlikely that many parents would consider any of the major characters as good role models.


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).

Here's a quick summary of the content found in this R-rated comedy. Profanity is listed as extreme due to the use of at least 37 "f" words, while other expletives and colorful phrases are also used, as are various sexually related bits of dialogue. We see a woman having sex with a man (related sounds and movement, but no nudity) and learn that she has casual sex with both him and another man. Other groping and making out also occurs.

On several occasions, we see scantily clad exotic dancers/strippers doing some suggestive dancing in a strip club (and there's a visual joke about one such woman shooting what look like ping-pong balls from a certain part of her anatomy - but we only see the balls and not her). In another scene, we see a life-sized, blow up sex doll in a man's shower (complete with bare breasts and permanently fixed open mouth).

Every major character is greedy and thus becomes involved in one form or another of criminal wrongdoings, and one is a hit man of sorts who kills one man and injures another using a baseball bat. Another man is shot dead (none of the violence includes gore/blood), and non-lethal and less brutal violence is also present (although most of that's played for laughs rather than suspense or realism).

Beyond that, various characters drink and smoke, with one seen smoking joints on several occasions. Should you still be concerned about the film and its appropriateness for yourself or anyone else in your home who may wish to see it, we suggest that you take a closer look at our detailed content listings for specific examples of what occurs in it.

  • Crystal smokes a joint after having sex with Russ and offers the joint to him, but he declines, saying that he doesn't even want a contact high.
  • People drink in Gig's club where Gig comments that Russ doesn't drink or do coke (and thus wonders where he spends his money).
  • Some of Dale's men seem to share a joint and one then drinks liquor straight from the bottle.
  • Crystal smokes another joint.
  • Crystal has a drink in front of her.
  • Gig drinks wine.
  • Dale tells Russ that the last time they spoke over the phone, he was drinking while taking medication. Later, he states that he's hopped up on wine coolers and anti-depressants.
  • Crystal mentions they could use a junkie she knows who's a "coke freak."
  • Lakewood drinks while on duty.
  • Russ drinks liquor.
  • Gig gives Crystal a shot of liquor, but she throws the glass to the floor instead.
  • None.
  • Most of what's listed below is played/portrayed in a comic vein, rather than to be taken seriously/at face value.
  • We learn that Dick is having an affair with Crystal, and she's also having casual sex with Russ.
  • Gig suggests making a false insurance claim on Russ' snowmobile shop. Russ agrees and Dale then serves as the thief who breaks in to steal the vehicles.
  • Gig then suggests rigging the lotto drawing and both Russ and Crystal then conspire to do just that, as does her cousin Walter who agrees to buy what will be the winning ticket.
  • Some viewers may be offended by a scene where Walter asks Russ if he masturbates and then goes on to say that he believes God gave people the ability to masturbate to protect everyone from sin (having sex with others). Crystal then chimes in that she likes sex, and Walter adds that there's a lot of sex in the Bible.
  • Crystal lets Walter die from an asthma attack (refusing to give him his inhaler) when he changes the plan. She then lies to Russ about that whole situation (making it sound like an accident).
  • Dale kills a person for Gig.
  • We learn that Lakewood was caught trying to fake his disability retirement. After he's reinstated on the force, he's lazy and less than enthusiastic or professional about his duties.
  • Once Dick learns of Russ and Crystal's scheme, he threatens to blackmail them if they don't cut him a piece of the action.
  • It's possible that some viewers could see scenes listed under "Violence" as somewhat suspenseful, but just like a scene where Russ switches the lotto balls while Crystal tries to distract the security guard in charge of them as a bit tense, they're all played for comedy. The same holds true for another scene where Crystal trips and the fixed lotto balls scatter across a parking lot and she scrambles to collect and hide them before anyone catches her.
  • Baseball bats: Use by Dale to threaten or injure others (presumably killing one person).
  • Handguns: Carried by Lakewood and Chambers, with one accidentally firing and hitting someone in the leg and another being used to shoot a suspect dead (no blood or gore).
  • Phrases: "What the f*ck..." "Who the f*ck are you?" "Do not f*ck with me," "F*ck me" (nonsexual), "Sit the f*ck down," "Get the f*ck up," "You creep c*cks*cker," "Bullsh*t," "Who gives a sh*t?" "No sh*t," "P*ssy hound," "Piss your money away," "Fire his ass," "Jeez," "Screwed (up)," "Nuts" (testicles), "I'm not talking out of my ass," "Bastard," "Blow me," "Jerk off" (noun), "Whore," "Shut up," "Slut," "Screwing around" (nonsexual), "Bitch," "Freak," "Nuts" (crazy), "Morons," "Piss," "Where the hell is he going?" "Kick some ass," "Jerk" and "Twisted psycho bitch."
  • None.
  • A tiny bit of comically suspenseful music plays in the film.
  • None.
  • At least 37 "f" words (1 used with "mother," another is used sexually as are the terms "banging" and "laid"), 25 "s" words, 3 slang terms using male genitals ("c*cks*cker" and "pr*ck"), 2 slang terms for female genitals ("p*ssy"), 16 asses (8 used with "hole"), 6 hells, 3 craps, 1 damn, 1 S.O.B., 11 uses of "Oh God," 5 of "God," 4 of "For God's sakes," 3 of "Oh my God," 2 each of "Christ" and "Jesus Christ" and 1 use each of "G-damn," "For Christ's sakes," "Jesus" and "Swear to God" as exclamations.
  • Dick and Crystal hug and he feels her clothed butt.
  • We see Crystal bouncing up and down on top of Russ as they have sex (under the covers and facing away from us so there's no nudity or sight of the actual act) and we hear her sexual sounds. When they're done and lying side by side, she states that sex with Dick is like having sex with a sloth. Later, Russ looks under the covers at his crotch (we don't see it) and makes a comment about "old reliable."
  • We see a scantily clad, exotic dancer doing her thing around a pole in Gig's strip joint. There, Gig states that Russ, among other things, isn't a "p*ssy hound" and wonders what he spends his money on. Moments later, what looks like ping pong ball comes flying by their table and Gig nonchalantly states that it was one of his girls he calls "the human canon" (suggesting that she's shooting that ball, and then another, from a certain part of her anatomy).
  • We see Larry and some woman making out in Russ' dealership at night. Later, Russ comments that he can't control the sexual appetite of his workers.
  • Dick sarcastically makes a comment about Crystal, stating that he's "banging" her.
  • We see Crystal and Russ in bed again, presumably after sex.
  • In Gig's club, we see a small, partial sculpture of a woman's upper torso and head that show bare breasts.
  • After Crystal has earlier stated that her cousin Walter has always had a crush on her, we see her suggestively lying on his motel bed, dressed in sexy clothing and somewhat suggestively running her hands along her body (all to distract him).
  • Walter says that he'll use part of his winnings to open an adult bookstore and then goes on to ask Russ if he masturbates. When Russ doesn't really answer the question, Walter states that he believes God gave people the ability to masturbate to protect everyone from sin (having sex with others). Crystal then chimes in that she likes sex, and Walter adds that there's a lot of sex in the Bible.
  • While picking the lotto numbers they'll fix, Russ picks the number 16 since that's the age when he "first got laid."
  • Crystal occasionally wears various outfits that show varying amounts of cleavage. Later, we see her in a bikini-like outfit (in the role of an exotic dancer).
  • Crystal finds a life-size, blow-up sex doll in Walter's shower (with bare breasts and a permanently open mouth).
  • Back in Gig's strip club, we see another dancer in a skimpy outfit.
  • While talking about other matters, Russ suddenly asks Crystal, "Want to have sex?" and she replies, "Oh yeah" (but we don't see anything other than them walking out of the room to do so).
  • Speaking of prison, Russ says that they kill celebrities first and then "f*ck them in the butt."
  • We see two exotic dancers doing something of a suggestive, lesbian type number together on stage on Gig's strip club (that distract Lakewood and cause him to ask Gig where one can find women who will do that).
  • Someone mentions something about saving ten masturbators.
  • We see another scantily clad dancer/stripper at Gig's place.
  • Larry mentions something about "getting a girl off" and Russ then wonders if he uses that analogy while selling snowmobiles (Larry sheepishly says that he does, but only to the biker types).
  • We see Crystal and Dick in bed together (implying sex), but we don't see any activity or nudity.
  • Crystal smokes around five times, while Gig smokes a few times, Jerry smokes (a cigar) once and some miscellaneous characters also smoke.
  • We hear that Gig got divorced from his wife and that Dick and his wife have split up as well (but don't see any related scenes).
  • How crime doesn't pay, and what often seem like easy schemes usually backfire and become more complicated than expected.
  • That none of the major characters are good and/or sympathetic and all of them allow greed to ruin their lives.
  • Crystal causally sleeping with both Russ and Dick.
  • Insurance fraud.
  • Women who work as exotic dancers/strippers in strip clubs.
  • Most of what's listed below is played/portrayed in a comic vein, rather than to be taken seriously/at face value.
  • Dale smashes through a plate glass window with a baseball bat to gain entry into Russ's dealership.
  • Russ pushes Gig out of his diner booth.
  • Crystal throws various objects at Dick in his office after learning that he's taking his wife on a vacation instead of her.
  • To distract the security guard in charge of the lotto balls, Crystal purposefully drives her car through the front glass windows at the TV station.
  • After Walter changes the plan, Crystal pushes him to the floor, sits on him and slaps him several times.
  • Crystal lets Walter die from an asthma attack (refusing to give him his inhaler) when he changes the plan.
  • Dale beats a person with a baseball bat (we only see the swinging and not the impact) and we then see him and another man throwing the wrapped up and presumably already dead victim off a bridge and into a river.
  • Crystal hits Dick on his body.
  • Crystal attacks Russ while he's driving, thus causing their car to go off the road and crash through a fence.
  • Gig gives Crystal a shot of liquor, but she throws the glass to the floor instead.
  • Dale smashes a lamp with his baseball bat to get a man's attention and then strikes that man's leg with the bat (while that man's in bed). We later hear that he broke both of his legs.
  • Crystal sprays Mace (or some sort of spray) into a man's eyes and then kicks him in the crotch before fleeing.
  • Dale hits Chambers' arms with a bat, causing Chamber's gun to fire (we hear that he was shot in the leg). Lakewood and Dale then tumble down some steps.
  • A man shoots another man dead.
  • Russ throws a tire iron at Lakewood and it breaks the cops' windshield. Trying to escape, Russ crashes his snowmobile and wakes up in the hospital.
  • Russ briefly struggles with Dick, who's sedated, and slaps him.

  • Reviewed October 24, 2000 / Posted October 27, 2000

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