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Inherent Vice [2014] [R] - 8.5.9



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Unlike the MPAA we do not assign one inscrutable rating based on age, but 3 objective ratings for SEX/NUDITY, VIOLENCE/GORE and PROFANITY on a scale of 0 to 10, from lowest to highest, depending on quantity and context.

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Sex & Nudity
Violence & Gore
1 to 10


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» IMDb Listing

A private detective (Joaquin Phoenix) tries to sift through the confusion of the 1970s Los Angeles drug trade hoping to find his missing girlfriend. Also with Joanna Newsom, Katherine Waterston, Jordan Christian Hearn, Taylor Bonin, Jeannie Berlin, Josh Brolin, Eric Roberts, Serena Scott Thomas, Benicio Del Toro, Jena Malone, Owen Wilson, Reese Witherspoon and Martin Short. Directed by Paul Thomas Anderson. [2:28]

SEX/NUDITY 8 - A fully nude woman enters a room where a man sits on a sofa (we see her bare breasts and genital area) and she sits on the sofa next to the man, caresses her nipple and massages the man's thigh using her foot, and then crawls across his lap (we see her bare buttocks); the man spanks her hard a few times and then thrusts until he climaxes (the woman moans). Two women kiss and one moves down below a counter causing the other to moan and then lie down on the floor where the one woman presumably performs oral sex on the other (we hear her moaning, but do not see the act).
 A woman serves a man and beverage and bends over at the waist with her buttocks toward his face (she is wearing a short skirt and we see her upper thighs). A man makes a sexual gesture with his hand and mouth. A man is shown eating a chocolate covered banana in several scenes and there is a sexual undertone (in one scene, he pushes the banana far enough into his mouth that he gags).
 We see topless women and their bare breasts are visible. We see a painting of a fully nude woman that shows bare breasts and nipples as well as pubic hair. A man's neck tie has a painting of a fully nude woman on it (we see bare breasts, abdomen, genitals and legs). We see several neck ties hanging in a closet with paintings of fully nude women on them (we see bare breasts, abdomens, genitals and legs). A woman wears a low-cut top that reveals her bare upper chest and shoulders, a woman wears a short dress that reveals her bare legs to the upper thighs. A woman wears a low-cut dress that reveals cleavage. Men and women are shown wearing swimwear around a swimming pool (cleavage, bare chests, abdomens, legs and backs are shown). A woman wears a very short skirt that reveals part of her bare buttocks when she bends over. A woman wears a jumpsuit with cut outs that reveal bare sides to the hip and cleavage.
 A man kisses another man who is handcuffed over a pipe in a small room on the neck. A man and a woman kiss in the doorway to their house. A woman tells a man to join her in his office and he runs out of the room while dropping his pants (we see his jockey shorts and bare thighs and sex is implied); she also tells him to bring a jar containing a drug with him. A man and a woman kiss. We see a picture of a man and a woman kissing. A man and a woman hug. A man is seated on the floor shirtless (we see his bare chest) and a woman is seen lying on a sofa behind him wearing a shirt and we see her bare legs; the woman kisses the man's neck and shoulder and caresses his face (sex is implied). A man and a much younger woman hug and snuggle while talking in his office; he caresses her and they kiss.
 A sign on a wall in a business establishment lists sex acts and their charges. A man talks about another man corrupting his daughter and calls him a pedophile. A woman tells a man that another man would have sex with her in the shower. A woman tells a man that she needs help and says, "There's this guy and he's married," implying that she has had a relationship with the married man. A woman talks about putting her finger down her throat to vomit up a balloon of dope while in a bathroom where a man was sitting and defecating; she describes putting her head between his legs and that he was aroused. We hear that a woman had sex with a man who was not her husband. A man makes a remark about another man eating a chocolate covered banana and the man eating makes a sexually suggestive remark.

VIOLENCE/GORE 5 - A man with a toilet tank lid hits another man in the head, they fall to the floor together and the first man hits the other man's head on the floor several times (we see blood on the man's head); another man comes into view and the first man shoots him (we see this man lying in an expanding pool of blood). A man falls to the floor and wakes up next to a dead man with blood on his face and head; he is surrounded by armed police officers. A man is kicked and jumped on by another man. A man is shown handcuffed over a pipe in a small room (please see the Sex/Nudity category for more details); the man struggles to get free and eventually unlocks the cuffs. A police officer slams into a man walking on a sidewalk and knocks him to the ground. A woman slaps a man hard in the face.
 A woman yells at a man over the phone and at her husband sitting in a chair near her. A man kicks another man's door in and the glass breaks when it hits the floor. A man throws plant material at another man as he walks away. A man complains that he is going to have a heart attack when he and several others are pulled over by the police.
 A man talks about finding a man dead with puncture wounds on his neck like from an animal. A man talks about another man dying from a fatal neck injury. We hear that a police detective's partner was shot and killed. A man talks about another man dying in a trampoline accident. A woman tells a man that her husband is dead. A voiceover says, "Nobody had seen her for a year." A comment is made about a man "wanting to be a Nazi." A man talks about another man hitting him with a baseball bat. References are made to the Arian Brotherhood. A woman gives a man a photograph presumably of a child and he yells in shock (we do not see the image). A reference is made to "Black national hate groups." We see a swastika on the back of a man's jacket and another tattooed on a man's face. A man talks about someone having "little kid blues." A man talks about a boat disappearing and reappearing. A woman talks about putting her finger down her throat to vomit up a balloon of dope while in a bathroom where a man was sitting and defecating; she describes putting her head between his legs and that he was aroused. A man picks his nose. A man picks his toes. A man is shown lying on a stirrup exam table (fully clothed). A man sprays himself with room deodorizer, sprays his feet and rubs it in using his had, and then smells his fingers.

PROFANITY 9 - About 42 F-words and its derivatives (1 mouthed), 3 obscene hand gestures (one by a teen girl to a man and another by a man to a teen girl), 13 sexual references (including a price list for sex acts hanging in a business establishment), 11 scatological terms, 15 anatomical terms, 4 mild obscenities, 1 derogatory term for African-Americans, name-calling (deaf and dumb, doper, eccentric, white boy, ugly, hippie, junkie, stupid Mansonoid conspiracy, grumpy, creepy, mess, snitch, delusional, spy, weasel, bigfoot, Bible freaks, dirty filthy hippie, crazy, weird, paranoid, lunatic, dope fiends), exclamations (dang, zoiks), 2 religious exclamations (Holy [F-word deleted] Weird, God Help Us All). [profanity glossary]

SUBSTANCE USE - A man smokes a marijuana cigarette in numerous scenes throughout the movie (in his home, in his office, etc.), a man rolls a marijuana cigarette and smokes it, we see a photo of a man shooting up with drugs, a reference is made to someone dropping acid, people talk about smack, a woman smokes a marijuana cigarette with a man in several scenes, a man smokes a marijuana cigarette and another man talks about PCP (the joint was presumably laced with PCP), two men snort cocaine, a man finds a large quantity of heroin in the trunk of his car, a man smokes part of a marijuana cigarette then puts the rest of it in his mouth and chews it, a man eats a handful of marijuana then lifts up a tray of it and pours it into his mouth, a woman tells a man to join her in his office and to bring a jar containing a drug with him, a man breathes through a mask that is attached to a tank (presumably nitrous oxide) and then passes the mask to a woman in the room with him and they laugh, a man and a woman use a Ouija board to find out where they can get drugs, and we hear about someone overdosing. People drink beer with pizza in a restaurant, a man asks a woman if she wants a beer and hands her a can (we see the man drink, but not the woman), a man drinks a glass of whiskey, two men toast and drink alcohol at a restaurant, two men drink beers, and two men order Tequila zombies at a restaurant. A woman smokes a cigarette in several scenes, a man smokes cigarettes in his home, people smoke cigarettes in a restaurant, a man smokes a cigarette, people are shown smoking cigarettes in a coffee shop, a man smokes a cigarette and a cigar at the same time, and men are shown smoking cigarettes in several more scenes.

DISCUSSION TOPICS - Right and wrong, drug use and abuse, 1970s, money laundering, drug trafficking, loyalty, love, kidnapping, cults, fate, heroin addiction, obsession, inherent vice, respect, revenge, time, memory, promise, justice, civil rights violations, Bermuda Triangle, regret, Ouija boards, tax evasion.

MESSAGE - Situations and human interaction can be complicated; even more so when drugs are involved.

Special Keywords: S8 - V5 - P9 - MPAAR

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A CAVEAT: We've gone through several editorial changes since we started covering films in 1992 and some of our early standards were not as stringent as they are now. We therefore need to revisit many older reviews, especially those written prior to 1998 or so; please keep this in mind if you're consulting a review from that period. While we plan to revisit and correct older reviews our resources are limited and it is a slow, time-consuming process.

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