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Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans Review Critics


Dave White Profile

And the Oscar for Crazy goes to... Read full review

Other Critics provided by

Critics scores range from 0 to 100, with higher scores indicating more favorable reviews.

  • 4.0

    out of 100

    Generally favorable reviews
    based on a weighted average of all
    critic review scores.

  • 100

    out of 100

    Chicago Sun-Times Roger Ebert

    No one is better at this kind of performance than Nicolas Cage. He's a fearless actor. He doesn't care if you think he goes over the top. If a film calls for it, he will crawl to the top hand over hand with bleeding fingernails.

    Read Full Review

  • 70

    out of 100

    The Hollywood Reporter Ray Bennett

    There is a lot of very black humor; and it develops, somewhat surprisingly, into something suggesting a kind of cheerful pessimism.

    Read Full Review

  • 75

    out of 100

    USA Today Claudia Puig

    It's a maniacal performance, complete with mad gales of laughter and insane bouts of temper. Cage doesn't go over the top, but he teeters darn close.

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  • 80

    out of 100

    Wall Street Journal Joe Morgenstern

    The sparkle is what's been missing in the star's (Cage) recent performances. What's not to love in a movie that transmutes Terence's moral squalor, and the squalid state of post-Katrina New Orleans, into darkly comic gold?

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  • 91

    out of 100

    Entertainment Weekly Owen Gleiberman

    Bad Lieutenant doesn't go where you expect, but it has a stubborn, trippy logic.

    Read Full Review

  • See all Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans reviews at

For Families provided by Common Sense Media

not for kids

Extreme "bad cop" depravity is definitely family-unfriendly.

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans (an unofficial remake of 1992's Bad Lieutenant), is far too dark and depraved for kids, even most teens. It centers on a post-Katrina New Orleans police lieutenant/junkie (Nicolas Cage) who curses, steals, issues bribes, gambles, threatens people, associates with thugs, has sex with multiple partners, engages in needless violence, dates a prostitute, and is generally an out and out lowlife. It can all be traced to an injury he sustained while rescuing a drowning prisoner during the hurricane, but the movie suggests that he was a scoundrel even before then. The film does offer a hint of redemption, though what kind and how effective it will be is pretty ambiguous.

  • Families can talk about how the violence in this movie compares to others they've seen. Does it have more or less impact than bloodier films? Why?
  • How does the movie portray addiction? What are the real-life consequences of drinking and taking drugs?
  • Discuss the initial act of bravery that got McDonagh into this mess. Do you think he'd have done it again if he had known what would happen? Does this act mean that there's a tiny glimmer of goodness in him?
  • Despite all his bad behavior, McDonagh really seems to love his girlfriend and goes out of his way to protect her. Does this mean that, aside from his numerous other faults, he has a hint of selflessness?

The good stuff
  • message true0

    Messages: No positive messages here. The hero is a terrible role model who avoids trouble thanks to luck and bad behavior, rather than redemption or realization. The movie's ambiguous ending suggests some kind of redemption, but it's most likely false.

  • rolemodels true0

    Role models: Definitely no positive role models. Main character McDonagh indulges in just about every type of bad behavior in the book -- swearing, drug addiction, sex with multiple partners, gambling, cheating, stealing, blackmail, threats, bribes, and just about anything else you can think of -- with no real consequences; he gets out of trouble with a combination of luck and more bad behavior. Even when shows himself to be reformed in public, in private he slips back into his old patterns. The only note of hope involves his girlfriend, who truly seems committed to changing her life.

What to watch for
  • violence false3

    Violence: Characters pull and fire guns, and there are a few fistfights, but the bulk of the violence is verbal: characters exploding in rage and frustration and threatening others. Viewers also see the aftermath of a murderous crime scene, with bodies strewn about, and there's a fatal shootout that involves blood and falling bodies.

  • sex false4

    Sex: Hardly any nudity shown, but there's plenty of sex talk and sexual situations, mostly dangerous and illicit. The main character visits his prostitute girlfriend several times while she's with "clients"; a pair of gangsters discusses having sex with her as payment on a debt that he owes. The same character attempts to sleep with a pretty traffic cop; she strips to her underwear and crawls onto the bed, but he's passed out. In another scene, after the main character busts a young couple, the girl offers him sexual favors, which he accepts -- they include kissing, grinding, and touching of private parts with hands (though again, no real nudity is shown).

  • language false5

    Language: A constant barrage of "f--k" and "s--t" in all their variations (including the favorite: "s---bird"), plus a few uses of the "N" word ... as well as just about every other word in the book.

  • consumerism false0


  • drugsalcoholtobacco false5

    Drinking, drugs and smoking: The main character is addicted to painkillers (Vicodin), cocaine, and heroin and drinks alcohol at all hours of the day. His girlfriend also takes drugs. His father is a recovering alcoholic, and his father's wife is a beer-drinking alcoholic. Drug dealers are everywhere, and various drugs are often on display. Occasionally, the main character experiences weird hallucinations that feature various swamp creatures and reptiles. No children are shown involved with drugs.