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The Merry Gentleman [2009] [R] - 6.5.5



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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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A woman (Kelly MacDonald) escapes from her abusive husband (Bobby Cannavale) by fleeing to Chicago to start over. She meets a man (Michael Keaton), but she does not know he is a hit man. She becomes entangled in his life by asking for help in a small matter, and at the same time, an alcoholic detective (Tom Bastounes), pursues her both romantically and professionally, since he is investigating her husband, as well as the mysterious man she has just met. Also with Guy Van Swearingen, Darlene Hunt and William Dick. Directed by Michael Keaton. [1:39]

SEX/NUDITY 6 - In a brief scene, at an office party, a man and a woman have sexual intercourse in a small storeroom: she sits on a table and he stands between her legs, thrusting (he looks fully clothed, while she wears a blouse and a skirt pulled up to reveal her bare thighs, knees and calves); she gasps and grimaces once as a coworker peeks in the door and leaves, but the two are silent otherwise.
 A man is found in a semi-fetal position under a bathroom sink, nude except for white briefs. A bare-chested man stands in a bathroom checking himself in the mirror and his wife is seen in bed under heavy covers and clothed in long-sleeved flannel pajamas. A man removes his trousers to reveal long boxer shorts (we briefly see his bare lower thighs, knees and lower legs).
 Several men ask a woman for a date, but she declines them. A woman goes to dinner with a detective to discuss official business, becomes upset when he says he wants to date her, and she leaves. A woman receives flowers from two different men on Valentine's Day. Several times, one male detective asks another if he is dating a woman they interrogated in a murder case; the man replies that they have tried to go out to dinner.

VIOLENCE/GORE 5 - A close up shows an assault rifle aimed from a rooftop toward another building, the gunman targets several people and finally shoots a man -- the man slumps to his desk, slides off one end to the floor and we see a large blackened spot on the back of his suit coat. A man steps up to a parked car knocks on the driver's window, the camera pans to the passenger front seat and we hear a muffled pop and see a wide splash of red on the window.
 A detective is called to a house and we see a fuzzy long shot of a male figure hanging from the neck from a ceiling fixture (no details are evident). A man is found in a semi-fetal position under a bathroom sink, nude except for white briefs, there are black streaks in the sink, and three bright red pools of blood around the body (no wound is shown). A woman is shown in a morgue while identifying a body (no flesh or wounds are shown).
 A woman in her kitchen hears footsteps, turns around to see her abusive husband, she screams, grabs a large kitchen knife and points it at him, shaking and crying, he talks to her and then leaves.
 A woman looks at her bruised right eye and cheek in a bathroom mirror as she holds an ice pack to her face; she then looks at her husband in another room (physical abuse is implied). A woman is asked by a female coworker how she bruised her eye and she replies that she was hit with a hockey puck at a game; the next day, she is asked by someone else and she replies that she bumped into a telescope at a party.
 A gunman stands up on a rooftop ledge, looks down several stories to the street, a woman looking up sees him and yells, "Nooooo!," he is startled and falls backwards onto the roof. A man points a handgun at an older man's head as he lies in bed, and the older man says, "I knew you'd come. It's good to see you"; the first man then lowers his gun.
 A man and a woman at dinner argue about her seeing another man. A woman asks a man if it is true that he is a murderer. A man tells another man that an abusive husband killed himself and they discuss the possibility of foul play. A man talks about another man committing suicide by hanging himself. Two detectives question a woman about her husband and his past abuse of her. A woman tells a man about her recently deceased abusive husband, "I hoped he'd jump off the highest bridge into the deepest water and the body would never be found." When speaking about a woman a man says, "we ID-ed her dead husband."
 A man sleeps in a car while holding a handgun. Many scenes are cloaked in shadows, including streets, alleys, rooftops of abandoned buildings, dimly lit apartments, closed offices, dark hospital corridors, unlit nighttime bedrooms and darkened backrooms of a men's wear shop. A man and a woman burn a tall fir tree, the flames shoot high and the scene ends with the couple walking away.
 A man coughs violently on a street at night, we see him in a hospital with an IV line and learn he has pneumonia. A man drives to a high bridge, parks his car, stands by the edge of the bridge, removes his cap, tosses it into the moving river, and watches it float away (it is implied that he is considering committing suicide, but does not).

PROFANITY 5 - About 9 F-words, 1 instance of name-calling, 2 stereotypical references about Jews at Christmas and phony Christians, 2 religious profanities, 21 religious exclamations. [profanity glossary]

SUBSTANCE USE - A man offers a marijuana cigarette to a woman, she declines three times while he smokes, and she takes one puff, chokes, coughs violently and leaves. A man smokes a cigarette while in a car and later in a restaurant (even though it's no-smoking), a man smokes a cigarette as he walks down the hallway of a morgue, and a man describes himself as an alcoholic chain-smoker that is also fat.
 We see many glasses of champaign sipped by attendees during an office Christmas party, a few people are seen drinking from bottles of beer at a party, a woman drinks wine at a restaurant, a man at a restaurant chugs a glass of wine straight down, a man in his apartment drinks liquor from a glass, we see people drinking at a party and one man coughs after taking a mouthful of liquor from a glass and spits it out, a man and a woman having dinner both drink wine and a bottle of wine sits on the table, a champaign bottle is opened and we see we see a close up of a glass as it is filled, and two women drink wine. A man in a hospital bed has a bottle of cough syrup with a prescription label on it on the nightstand and an IV line in one arm, and a man drinks a bottle of cough syrup.

DISCUSSION TOPICS - Murder for hire, suicide, abusive policemen, spousal abuse, alcoholism, smoking, marijuana, peer pressure, religious holidays, faith expressed by criminals, relationships, divorce, friendship, love, forgiveness.

MESSAGE - People are complex creatures and make mistakes.

Special Keywords: S6 - V5 - P5 - 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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