[Screen It]


(2000) (William H. Macy, Philip Seymour Hoffman) (R)

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

Comedy: A Hollywood film crew descends upon a quaint New England town hoping to make their movie, only to find various complications disrupting and impeding their shoot.
Having been banished from shooting in New Hampshire, director Walt Price (WILLIAM H. MACY) and his Hollywood film crew, including cinematographer Uberto Pazzi (VINNE GUSTAFERO) and first assistant director Tommy Max (JIM GRANGIONE), arrive in the small town of Waterford, Vermont short of both money and time. With only a few days before his cast arrives, Walt needs a locale to pass for the 19th century setting of his film, "The Old Mill."

Unfortunately, and despite what the brochures say, the town hasn't had an old mill since it and other structures mysteriously burned down in the 1960s. Unfazed and ever resourceful, Walt simply tells novice screenwriter Joe White (PHILIP SEYMOUR HOFFMAN) to write the old mill out the movie, but the scribe can't even do that since he can't find a manual typewriter.

Fortunately for him, local bookstore proprietor and community theater director Ann Black (REBECCA PIDGEON) has several. Kindred spirits, she and Joe immediately hit it off, despite her being engaged to ambitious politician, Doug MacKenzie (CLARK GREGG), who's determined to squeeze as much money out of the production for the town as possible.

While Waterford's mayor, George Bailey (CHARLES DURNING) and his wife Sherry (PATTI LuPONE) prepare for a huge dinner at their home, stars Bob Barrenger (ALEC BALDWIN) and Claire Wellesley (SARAH JESSICA PARKER) arrive in town, each bringing their own set of complications. While Barrenger's penchant for under-aged girls keeps everyone on their toes - especially after he meets local waitress Carla Taylor (JULIA STILES) - the bigger concern is Claire's sudden decision not to do a topless scene as previously agreed upon in her contract.

As such, Walt calls in producer Marty Rossen (DAVID PAYMER) who's known for his strong-arm tactics. As he gets after Claire to do the scene, Joe tries to keep up with the many story changes and Barrenger gets into a car accident with a young woman that has to be covered up, Walt does what he can to keep the film on schedule and get his shots no matter what that might take.

Those who are fans of anyone in the cast or of playwright/screenwriter/director David Mamet's work just might, but it doesn't otherwise seem like this will be a huge draw for most kids, especially preteens.
For language and brief sexual images.
  • WILLIAM H. MACY plays the film's director who will do anything - and demands the same of his crew - to get his shots and complete his film. As such, he tries to manipulate various people into doing things they'd rather not. He also uses strong profanity, smokes and drinks some.
  • ALEC BALDWIN plays the film's star who has a carefree predilection for under-aged girls that gets him into some potential trouble after a car accident. It's suggested that he fools around with Carla and Claire, and he also drinks some.
  • JULIA STILES plays a young waitress who gets involved with Bob and but then turns against him after they're involved in a car accident.
  • PHILIP SEYMOUR HOFFMAN plays the film's novice screenwriter who finds himself in a difficult situation, both creatively and morally, due to Walt's demands of him.
  • REBECCA PIDGEON plays the town's bookstore owner who breaks off her engagement to Doug once she meets her kindred spirit, Joe. After that, she tries to help him through his various predicaments.
  • SARAH JESSICA PARKER plays the film's lead actress who suddenly decides she can't do a topless scene (despite apparently doing many in the past) unless she's paid extra money. She also apparently fools around with Bob.
  • DAVID PAYMER plays an aggressive and coercive producer called in to deal with Claire and any other problems that might arise. He uses some strong profanity.
  • CLARK GREGG plays an ambitious politician and Ann's former fiancÚ who wants to bilk the production out of as much money as possible. He briefly uses strong profanity.
  • CHARLES DURNING plays the town's mayor who's glad to have the film in his town.
  • PATTI LuPONE plays his demanding and formidable wife who works hard to get their house ready for a big dinner with the main people associated with the film.
  • VINNE GUSTAFERO plays the film's cinematographer who spends most of the film trying to figure out how to work around a stained glass window in the local firehouse that's in the way of his shot.


    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).

    The following is a quick look at the content found in this R-rated comedy. Profanity is rated as heavy due to at least 7 uses of the "f' word, while other expletives and colorful phrases are also present. Some mostly non-explicit, sexually related comments are made and some fooling around is suggested between a man and his co-star as well as an under-aged local girl.

    A few women's bare backs are seen (as they stand topless in front of men) as are some sexually explicit sketches from the film that show bare breasts and a couple arranged in several sexual positions. Various characters have varying degrees of bad attitudes (including some trying to coerce others to lie in front of a judge about the truth), while certain characters drink and/or smoke.

    Meanwhile, a non-suspenseful car accident and a fishing hook in a finger result in a bit of blood. The film's remaining categories, however, have little or nothing in the way of other major objectionable content. Nevertheless, if you're still concerned about the film and its appropriateness for anyone in your home who wants to see it, we suggest that you take a closer look at our detailed content listings for specific examples of what occurs in the film.

  • Bob asks Carla what she wants to drink and she states bourbon and milk (what he's apparently drinking). He hands his glass to her and she drinks from it.
  • Walt and Marty have drinks.
  • Bob pours himself a drink.
  • Doug drinks in a bar, where the town doctor also has a drink.
  • A person drinks beer.
  • Walt drinks liquor straight from the bottle and then later says that he, Claire and Bob should go out and have a bottle of wine.
  • Various people have wine in front of them at a dinner party the Mayor's holding.
  • Doug has a drink.
  • The town doctor has a drink from his flask.
  • Bob drinks from a flask.
  • We see a fishing hook in the end of Joe's index finger along with a tiny bit of blood.
  • Both Carla and Bob have some bloody cuts/scrapes on their heads after being involved in a car accident, and Bob also has a few drops on his T-shirt.
  • We hear that Bob has a penchant/weakness for 14-year-old girls (what he calls a "hobby").
  • Walt says that something is "faggy without being homosexual."
  • Marty is demeaning to Claire who's trying to back her way out of doing a topless scene in the movie despite having already signed the contract to do so.
  • Walt will say or do anything to make sure his movie is made on time and under budget, and this includes manipulating people to do what he wants or needs (such as offering Carla a part in the film if she doesn't press charges against Bob and threatening Joe that he won't ever work in the movies again if he tells the truth in court).
  • Uberto, the film's cinematographer, purposefully throws an object through a stained glass window (so that he can get a shot he needs).
  • Doug says about Marty, "You cheap little heeb."
  • We see some locals refilling water bottles and then sealing the caps so that they appear to be brand new.
  • Marty and Walt use some production money to bribe someone on the other side of a court case and that person accepts the money.
  • None.
  • The local sheriff wears a standard issue handgun.
  • Phrases: "Broad" (woman), "Bimbo" "Piss," "Where the hell have you been?" and "You cheap little heeb."
  • We see some locals refilling water bottles and then sealing the caps so that they appear to be brand new.
  • None.
  • None.
  • None.
  • At least 7 "f" words (1 used with "mother"), 3 "s" words, 1 slang term for male genitals ("d*ck"), 17 slang terms for breasts ("t*ts"), 2 hells, 2 S.O.B.s, 1 ass, 1 damn, 2 uses each of "G-damn," "Oh my God" and "Oh Christ" and 1 use each of "For God's sakes" and "Oh God" as exclamations.
  • We hear that Bob has a penchant/weakness for 14-year-old girls (what he calls a "hobby").
  • Joe appears to be staring at Annie's clothed butt when he mentions something about being so young and full of promise. She calls him on that, but he then states that he was looking at (and commenting on) his photo on the cover of a play he wrote that she's carrying in her back pocket.
  • Tommy comments that everyone could draw Claire's "t*ts" from memory (when she's trying to back out of doing a topless scene).
  • After Joe defends her honor, Claire shows up in his room and comes on to him. She then says that she likes Jewish men and when he asks why, she suggestively replies, "You know." Later, we see a great deal of her nude leg as she lies on his bed and it's heavily implied that the rest of her is nude as well (we see Joe picking up her undergarments). Moments later, after Annie has shown up and left (with Claire hiding somewhere), we see Claire's bare back as she stands nude in front of Joe (and as Annie returns to see that).
  • We see Carla leaving Bob's hotel room, suggesting that they fooled around in some fashion.
  • A comment is made about a movie character's "unbridled sexuality."
  • After Walt spots a crewmember wearing a T-shirt with a slogan he doesn't like, he tells her to remove the shirt. She does, in front of him, and isn't wearing a bra (but we only see her bare back).
  • We see a brief storyboard drawing of a scene from the movie with a topless woman on a man's lap and then another of her leaning back while still on top of the man who's lying down in an apparent sexual position (both show her bare breasts).
  • Claire comes out of Bob's hotel room wearing just a shirt (but we don't see any nudity) and states that his treating her like a child is why she couldn't "come." Bob then walks out into the hallway completely nude (and unknowingly in front of others), but all we see is his bare chest. We later see a towel around his waist and Carla then charges that Bob took advantage of her earlier. Later, Marty makes a comment to Bob stating "If your d*ck was as long as your memory."
  • The town doctor comments on taking advice from anyone wearing a bowtie (which he is) and then states that one is supposed to wear a tie to accentuate one's genitals, rather than a bowtie that accentuates one's ears.
  • Walt smokes or has unlit cigars in a few scenes, while Joe, Bob, Marty and a few miscellaneous characters also smoke (cigarettes, cigars and one a pipe).
  • Walt tells another man to give the cinematographer a cigarette (he does and the cinematographer smokes).
  • Walt offers the Mayor a cigar, but he declines.
  • Bob asks Joe for a cigarette, but he doesn't have one.
  • None.
  • The effects that a Hollywood film crew can have on the people and setting of places where they shoot.
  • The efforts of various people in the crew trying to get Joe to lie about what he saw regarding Barrenger's car crash with Carla.
  • Bob's penchant for under-aged girls.
  • A car swerves down the road, crashes, flips over and smashes into a traffic light pole, slightly injuring the two people inside.
  • Uberto, the film's cinematographer, purposefully throws an object through a stained glass window (so that he can get a shot that he needs) and then has some of that glass land on his head.

  • Reviewed November 20, 2000 / Posted December 22, 2000

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