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Parents' Guide to


By Nell Minow, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 14+

This movie just sags, even in the action scenes.

Movie PG-13 2003 110 minutes
Paycheck Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 12+

Based on 2 parent reviews

age 13+

Really Good

Good movie has some iffy content
age 11+

Fun action flick, with some interesting ideas

smart sci-fi, explores the role of memory in who we are, and also tackles free will. I thought the action was very fun, and loved waiting to see how he was going to use the next clue. I rated it 11 and up, just because I think it would be boring to younger kids.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (2 ):
Kids say (4 ):

We can stand it when a thriller requires some suspension of disbelief, but the boredom of this would-be thriller is unforgivable. The movie just sags, even in the action scenes. Without spoiling what little suspense there is, all I can say is that the big "reveal" removes any sense of narrative tension by making the outcome all but inevitable. Even Woo's trademarks, the fluttering birds and the two-gun stand-off, feel perfunctory.

Scientists will discover a way to bend the laws of time before anyone remembers that a movie about bending the laws of time has to have some way of handling the problem of determinism versus free will that is if not plausible then at least consistent. The idea (from Blade Runner's Philip K. Dick) of Paycheck is an intriguing one -- a super-smart computer whiz who trades not only his intellect but also his memory for big bucks. Even on one of his good days, this set-up would have been a challenge for director John Woo, whose stylish staging has turned saggy scripts into highly watchable films. But Woo seems to have taken a hit from that memory-eraser.

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