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Movie Review

Boiler Room

MPAA Rating: R for strong language and some drug content

Reviewed by: Eliot Landrum

Very Offensive
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Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
2 hr.
Year of Release:
USA Release:
February 18, 2000 (wide)
Scene from Boiler Room
Scene from “Boiler Room”
Featuring: Giovanni Ribisi, Nia Long, Vin Diesel, Ron Rifkin, Jamie Kennedy
Director: Ben Younger
Producer: Suzanne Todd, Jennifer Todd
Distributor: New Line Cinema

Imagine having the chance to be fabulously rich in an incredibly short amount of time. Imagine being haunted by your father’s success and his continual decry of everything you ever did. Seth (Giovanni Ribisi of “Saving Private Ryan”, “The Mod Squad”, and “Friends” fame), the central character in the “Boiler Room” finds himself in this situation and we, the viewers, are invited to join him in probably the most exciting three months of his life.

Picking up on the excitement of the current trend of successful IPO (Initial Public Offerings) of technology-related stocks, “Boiler Room” chronicles Seth’s brush with fortune and success. More deeply though, “Boiler Room” comes down to Seth’s relationship with his father. Seth’s father, played by Ron Rifkin, has never outwardly approved of anything Seth has accomplished nor provided Seth with a loving fatherly figure. In an effort to prove himself to his father—and excited by the chance to make “millions within the first 3 years of employment”—Seth joins a fast-paced, Generation-X staffed brokerage firm. Amazed at the fortune that these 20-something brokers are amassing, Seth works hard to quickly move up in the ranks of the firm. These young men are concerned with nothing, but getting rich, as one of the character remarks, they simply have more money than they know what to do with. After some amazing “coincidences,” Seth slowly puts together the pieces and realizes that this firm is doing more than a little under hand work.

“Boiler Room” is rated R for really only one reason—language. Hardly one second of Ben Affleck’s on screen time goes by without his utterance of the f-word. It seems as though the screenwriters feel that every sentence needs to be colored by such language. With just a few minor characters in the background doing anything drug related, it hardly constitutes anything worth mentioning. Since these men are obsessed with simply money itself, bed scenes are almost completely absent. “Boiler Room” emphasizes Seth’s good choices to improve his future and his relationship with his father. Seth never quite seems to be interested in the money, but simply the feeling of accomplishment and the hope of respect from his father. Seth continues driving a Volvo station wagon and living in a small apartment while his peers are buying Ferraries, Lamborghinies, and huge houses.

“Boiler Room” shows first hand the excitement of the stock market and the disaster that extreme greed can leave behind. In retrospect, it was refreshing to see Seth’s good choices exemplified and the results of his peers lack of foresight.

Viewer Comments
I decided to see this movie because I used to work as a regulator trying to catch and break up these types of schemes. Technically, this movie was accurate, but I found the language to be overwhelming. The plot line was interesting, but I cannot recommend this movie to anyone because of the language. My Ratings: [2/3]
—Randy, age 30
Movie Critics
…a testosterone-fueled stock-trading flick cribbed from “Glengarry,” “Wall Street” …it leaves a deep impression of irony… and the pitfalls of unmitigated greed.
—Rob Blackwelder, Spiced Online
…spews a couple of f-words per minute. …gutter-rich dialogue… extremely objectionable…
—Preview Family Movie and TV Review
…extreme profanity… Although the film has its moments, some decent performances and a few great sequences brimming with smart dialogue, it’s otherwise a blatant rip-off of Oliver Stone’s far superior “Wall Street…
You’re better off renting “Glengarry Glen Ross”…
—Stephen Whitty, Star-Ledger, New Jersey
…solid thriller… nails the culture of greed that lures Gen-Xers to Wall Street…
—Michael Atkinson, Mr. Showbiz
…has both the drive and limitations of a high-end B-movie…
—Mike Clark, USA Today