A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Though the movie is primarily about a terrible person, the movie is well aware of that fact, and his faults are always evident to viewers -- and he eventually gets his comeuppance for his extreme greed and perhaps even learns a lesson or two. That means the audience ultimately comes away with the message "do not try this at home."
Positive Role Models
Even though he's funny and tries to do a few good turns during the story, Abramoff is unrelentingly backstabbing and greedy. He treats others with contempt, swears profusely, and exhibits destructive behavior. The only good thing is that he's eventually caught and punished, thought it remains to be seen whether he's learned his lesson.
Violence & Scariness
A character is stabbed with a pen, and viewers see some blood. Also lots of shouting and arguing.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
A secondary character is seen with two naked women in his room, with naked breasts on view. Another main character cheats on his girlfriend and sleeps around. Viewers also see dancing girls in a casino, though they mostly wear skimpy costumes.
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Dozens of uses of "f--k" throughout the film. Other words used less frequently include "s--t," "goddamn," "ass," "hell," "whore," "schmuck," and "bastard." Characters also use racial slurs from time to time, especially to describe Native Americans.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this humorous biopic about convicted fraudster/"superlobbyist" Jack Abramoff ( Kevin Spacey) is rife with foul language, including the pervasive use of "f--k." There's one brief scene of violence -- a stabbing, with blood -- and some nudity (breasts); some secondary characters also sleep with multiple women. Jack is an entertaining character, but the movie isn't celebrating his bad behavior: He's very much presented as a bad guy. Note: A similarly titled documentary about Abramoff -- Casino Jack and the United States of Money -- was released earlier in 2010. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
The biggest asset in Casino Jack is Spacey, who plays Abramoff as the cynical, snappy type of character he made so memorable in American Beauty. Spacey is clearly enjoying every manic moment here (throwing in the occasional celebrity impression to boot), and the screenplay by Norman Snider does a nice job of feeding his frenzy. There isn't much room for others in this kind of one-man show, but Lovitz gets in some nice moments as the sleazy, small-time hood.
Director George Hickenlooper -- who passed away in October of 2010 -- can't quite fine-tune the movie into the tight comedy it should have been; it's a little uneven in places and a little wobbly in others. But to its credit, the movie gambles on a really nasty lead character and doesn't bother trying to make him "likeable." The movie knows that Abramoff is a terrible person and allows the audience to know that, too. The trick is that Jack doesn't know it. Overall, it's an interesting, funny, and irreverent portrait of our troubled times.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.