Movie Mom

Movie Mom

Illegal Tender

posted by Nell Minow
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated R for violence, language and some sexuality.
Profanity:Very strong language, n-word in song lyrics
Nudity/Sex:Nudity, sexual references, brief explicit sexual situation
Alcohol/Drugs:Characters are drug dealers, drinking
Violence/Scariness:Intense and graphic violence, shoot-outs, torture, beatings, suicide
Diversity Issues:Diverse characters
Movie Release Date:2007
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated R for violence, language and some sexuality.
Profanity: Very strong language, n-word in song lyrics
Nudity/Sex: Nudity, sexual references, brief explicit sexual situation
Alcohol/Drugs: Characters are drug dealers, drinking
Violence/Scariness: Intense and graphic violence, shoot-outs, torture, beatings, suicide
Diversity Issues: Diverse characters
Movie Release Date: 2007

There’s a chance, but a very slight chance that 20 years from now this could be one of those films whose pulpiness overcomes its dopiness. But I doubt it.

Oh, it is fun to see Wanda de Jesus get all Pam Grier and shoot off two big guns at once after making a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for her son. But the big dumb story and the big dumb dialogue keep getting in the way.

It begins in 1985, when drug dealer-but-nice-guy Wilson De Leon (Manny Perez) is killed on the same night his son, Wilson Jr., is born.

Fast forward to the present day. Wilson Junior (now played by the always-appealing Rick Gonzalez) is a student at genteel Danbury College. He lives with his mother (de Jesus as the older Millie) and little brother Randy (Antonio Ortiz) in a luxurious home in the suburbs of Connecticut. But everything changes when Millie runs into a friend from the old days. She knows this means that the men who killed her husband will be coming after her and her sons. She takes Wilson down into the cellar and opens up the safe. Inside are enough guns to arm a militia. “It’s called weight,” she explains.

But that is about all she explains. When he refuses to go on the run with Millie and Randy, she leaves him a gun and tells him to protect himself. Soon he is practicing his shooting face and taking aim at some tin cans. And soon after that he is taking aim at some assassins who come to his house, where he is staying with his girlfriend Ana (Dania Ramirez).

Her role in the story is to keep asking what is going on in a loud voice as the drug lord’s goons are tramping through the house shooting everything and call at inconvenient moments to tell Wilson she is worried. I’d be worried, too — Wilson and his mother return to the house when the bad guys are after them. Then, when they are after the bad guys, they stop for some retail therapy to pick up some bling. Millie’s explanation of her income (“You bought Microsoft?”) and justification for her late husband’s career choice (“everyone has stains”) is as silly as the rumble on the soundtrack that always seems to alert her to impending danger. A couple of developments near the end are intended to be plot twists, but there is so little to qualify here as plot that they are more like plot nudges. There isn’t much dialogue, either. At least a third of it seems to be various people saying “Wilson” when they speak to him, as though we need to be reminded who he is. And the other two-thirds is soapy tripe like, “Oh, God, I want this to end!”

Yeah. Me, too.

Parents should know that this is an intense and violent film with graphic images of shoot-outs, beatings, and torture. Characters are in peril and many are injured and killed and a character commits suicide. Characters are drug dealers and gangsters and some drink wine, champagne, and alcohol. They use strong language, including the n-word in song lyrics. The movie includes sexual references and brief explicit situations, dancers in skimpy clothes, and brief nudity.

Families who see this movie should talk about what Wilson and his mother told each other and did not tell each other.

Audiences who enjoy this movie will enjoy Pam Grier classics like Coffy.

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