ChildCare Action Project (CAP): Christian Analysis of American Culture


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Entertainment Media Analysis Report
A service to His little ones (which includes at-home teens) through you, their parents and grandparents, in His name by His Word

Chicago (2002), PG-13
Analysis Date: January 26, 2003
CAP Score: 25
CAP Influence Density: 1.81

MinMax: -75

Chicago (2002) CAP Mini-thermometers

ALERT: To fully understand this report you should first visit the topics suggested by the CAP Site Map (Table of Contents). Further, if you do not want the plot, ending, or "secrets" of a movie spoiled for you, skip the Summary/Commentary. In any case, be sure to visit the Findings/Scoring section -- it is completely objective to His Word and is the heart of the CAP Entertainment Media Analysis Model applied to this movie.

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If Scriptural references appear, the full text appears at the end of the Summary / Commentary likely using a mix of KJV and NIV.

CHICAGO (PG-13) -- Chicago is no more PG-13 than I am 13 years old.

Cast/Crew Details Courtesy
Production: Miramax Films
Distribution: Miramax Films
Director(s): Rob Marshall
Producer(s): Jennifer Berman, Don Carmody, Sam Crothers, Julie Goldstein, Neil Meron, Meryl Poster, Marty Richards, Bob Weinstein, Harvey Weinstein, Craig Zadan
Written by/Screenplay: Maurine Dallas Watkins (play Chicago), Fred Ebb & Bob Fosse (musical Chicago), Bill Condon (screenplay)
Cinematography/Camera: Dion Beebe
Music: Danny Elfman, John Kander
Film Editing: Martin Walsh
Casting: Ali Farrell, Laura Rosenthal
Production Design: John Myhre
Art Direction: Andrew M. Stearn
Viewed At: AMC - Hulen, Ft. Worth, Texas

Chicago is no more PG-13 than I am 13 years old. Graphic gunfire murder. God's name in vain with the four letter expletive one more time than without [Deut. 5:11]. The three/four letter word vocabulary 24 times [Prov. 8:13, Col. 3:8]. (Still wonder why kids in school talk that way?) Stripping for sex. Intercourse with no nudity but with sounds (brief upper female nudity comes later) [Gal. 5:19, Rev. 22:15]. Drinking booze [Prov. 20:1]. Smoking in many scenes. Vulgar dance moves, dress and posture [Rev. 21:8, Rev. 22:15].

Velma Kelly (Catherine Zeta-Jones) is on top of the 1920s Vaudeville scene. Dancing and prancing her way into lots of money and fame. Roxanne 'Roxie' Hart (Renée Zellweger) wants a piece of it. The lights. The fame. The money. The applause. Roxie wants it and will do just about anything to get it, including pay for such an opportunity with sex even though she's married. Along comes Fred Casely (Dominic West) with promises of connections with the local jazz club. Roxie fell for his charm and promises and gives of herself to him. But when the sobriety of morning returns, Casely slams Roxie against the wall as she tries to push herself on him to win his approval.

Picking herself up off the floor, Roxie grabs her husband's gun and wastes Casely and poor little vulnerable Roxie is readied by the police for carting off to the slammer. Coming home before the police get there her simple and sweet husband, Amos (John C. Reilly) takes the fall and tells the police he killed Casely for forcing himself on his wife. But tight comes to tighter and Roxie fesses up to what she had done. In Murderer's Row, Roxie meets face to face the famous Velma Kelly who had punched .38 caliber holes in both her husband and her sister as they lie together ... intimately. Roxie also meets face-to-face the intimidating (for good reasons) prison matron 'Mamma' Morton (Queen Latifah).

Through the help of Mamma Morton, both Velma and Roxie are connected with slick and smooth lawyer, Billy Flynn (Richard Gere) with promises to both to make them so appealing to the public that no jury in the land would convict either of murder. But Billy wants $5000.00. No problem for Velma but Roxie doesn't have anywhere near that kind of money. Amos even offers to pay $20.00 per week for him to defend Roxie. But no. Billy wants $5000.00 up front. Plus unspoken benefits, unspoken to Amos anyway. Billy has never lost a case of defending a woman. Flynn promises to create such media frenzy that public empathy will reign and both will go scott-free. Flynn even manufactures a pregnancy for Roxie to woo the public. Or maybe it was Roxie who did that? She learned quickly from Flynn how to manipulate the media. Which brings up another point that the movie portrayed well -- that the media can be controlled which in turn controls the legal system. Oh, the games we play!

Seamlessly mixed in with the storyline are several song-and-dance routines by the key players. Even Gere sings and dances, at least he tries. Who would have thought the hulking "Murph" in The Perfect Storm, John C. Reilly could sing! But he does and it is a warm and heart-tugging rendition of his story in the plot. Too bad most of the songs are about killing and immorality.

A few of the scenes and subplots in Chicago are indeed tender and touching, but many are not. There is graphic gunfire murder [Rev. 22:15, Rev. 21:8], adulterous intercourse but with no nudity [1Cor. 7:2], very revealing dress, a hanging, and vulgar dance moves much like the ones that cost John the Baptist his head. There is much more to concern parents and grandparents. Please look to the listing in the Findings/Scoring section. It is completely objective to His Word.


If needed to focus or fortify, applicable text is underlined or bracketed [ ]. If you wish to have full context available, the Blue Letter Bible is a convenient source. If you use the Blue Letter Bible, a new window will open. Close it to return here or use "Window" in your browser's menu bar to alternate between the CAP page and the Blue Letter Bible page.

  • Deut. 5:11 Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain [shav' {shawv}: emptiness, nothingness, vanity]: for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain. [With or without the four letter expletive, the use of God's name in any way other than respect, reverence or thoughtful discussion is in vain. That includes the popular three syllable sentence with His name trailing it.]
  • Prov. 8:13 To fear the LORD is to hate evil; I hate pride and arrogance, evil behavior and perverse speech [obstinate in opposing the norm or the accepted].
  • Col. 3:8 But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth.
  • Gal. 5:19 The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery;
  • Rev. 22:15 Outside [of Heaven] are the dogs, those who practice magic arts, the sexually immoral, the murderers, the idolaters and everyone who loves and practices falsehood.
  • Prov. 20:1 Wine [beer, mixed wine] is a mocker [to make scorn, make mouths at, talk arrogantly], strong drink [pure wine in the Bible days, about as strong as our beer] is raging [cause to be disquieted, be in an uproar]: and whosoever is deceived thereby [caused to go astray by it, believes otherwise] is not wise. [If alcoholic beverages in entertainment were not a problem for our young, why would there be and why has there been such a push to get and keep booze commercials off TV?]
  • Rev. 21:8 But the [unforgiven] cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars -their place will be in the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.
  • 1Cor. 7:2 But since there is so much immorality, each man should have his own wife, and each woman her own husband.

    ***Selected Scriptures of Armour against the influence of the entertainment industry***
  • Ps. 12:8 The wicked freely strut about [e.g., create progressively vile/offensive entertainment with impunity and no consequences to younger and younger audiences every year] when what is vile is honored among men [when enough people continue to defend it, embrace it, pay for it, enjoy it, want it]. [I call attention to Ps. 12:8 to warn of the creeping desensitizing power of "entertainment."]
  • 1 Cor. 15:33 (KJV) Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners. (NIV) Do not be misled: Bad company corrupts good character.
  • Jude 4 For certain men* whose condemnation was written about long ago have secretly slipped in among you. They are godless men, who change [warp, distort, falsely represent] the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord. [*men: anthropos {anth'-ro-pos}, generic, a human being, whether male or female]
  • Matt. 25:40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto [or for] one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto [or for] me.
  • Luke 17:2 It would be better for him to be thrown into the sea with a millstone tied around his neck than for him to cause one of these little ones to sin. [cause by teaching or example]
  • Ps. 119:133 Direct my footsteps according to your word; let no sin rule over me.
  • John 14:15 If ye love me, keep my commandments.
  • 1 Thess. 5:22 Abstain from all appearance of evil.


    As always, it is best to refer to the Findings/Scoring section -- the heart of the CAP analysis model -- for the most complete assessment possible of this movie.


    Chicago (2002) CAP Thermometers

    Wanton Violence/Crime (W):
  • bloody firearm
  • brutality, repeatedly
  • police corruption
  • hanging
  • graphic photo of murder
  • songs of killing/murder

    Impudence/Hate (I)(1):
  • 24 uses of the three/four letter word vocabulary
  • lying, repeatedly
  • coaching client to lie, repeatedly

    Sex/Homosexuality (S):
  • adults in underwear
  • vulgur positions and posture, repeatedly
  • scant dress, lingerie style and less, repeatedly
  • vulgar positions and posture, repeatedly
  • inappropriate touch, including in dance
  • suggestive eye movement
  • intercourse with sounds but no nudity
  • stripping for sex, repeatedly
  • ghosting of female anatomy through clothing
  • vulgar talk/comments, sexual innuendo, sex talk, repeatedly
  • adultery, repeatedly
  • vulgar dance moves, repeatedly
  • partial nudity, repeatedly
  • excessive breast exposure, repeatedly
  • excessive cleavage, repeatedly
  • homosexual reference
  • additional dressing to maximize the female form and/or skin exposure, repeatedly
  • gamming
  • camera angle to force viewer on private parts, repeatedly
  • man and woman in bed together, ostensibly for intercourse
  • crotch kick
  • song encouraging adultery and immorality

    Drugs/Alcohol (D):
  • bar, repeatedly
  • smoking, repeatedly (frequent)
  • drinking, repeatedly
  • booze, repeatedly

    Offense to God (O)(2):
  • six uses of God's name in vain with the four letter expletive and 5 without
  • "Cast out God"

    Murder/Suicide (M)(3):
  • graphic gunfire murder
  • flashback of gunfire murder
  • additional gunfire murders (at least four)

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    NOTE: While the Summary/Commentary section of these reports is precisely that -- a summary in commentary format which can be and sometimes is subjective, the actual CAP Analysis Model (the Findings/Scoring section) makes no scoring allowances for trumped-up "messages" to excuse, for manufacture of justification for, or camouflaging of ignominious content or aberrant behavior or imagery with "redeeming" programming. Disguising sinful behavior in a theme/plot does not excuse the sinful behavior of either the one who is drawing pleasure or example of behavior or thought from the sinful display or of the practitioners demonstrating the sinful behavior. We make no attempt to quantify the "artistic" or "entertainment" value of a movie -- whether a movie has any positive value or "entertainment" value is up to mom/dad. The CAP analysis model is the only known set of tools available to parents and grandparents which give *them* the control they need, bypassing the opinion-based assessment of movies by others and defeating the deceit of those who would say anything to convince their parents otherwise. The model is completely objective to His Word. Our investigation standards are founded in the teachings and expectations of Jesus Christ. If a sinful behavior is portrayed, it is called sinful whether Hollywood tries to make it otherwise. That the sinful behavior is "justified" by some manufactured conditions does not soften nor erase the price of sin. Whether there is application of fantasy "justification" or "redemption" is up to mom/dad.

    "There are some in the entertainment industry who maintain that 1) violent programming is harmless because no studies exist that prove a connection between violent entertainment and aggressive behavior in children, and 2) young people know that television, movies, and video games are simply fantasy. Unfortunately, they are wrong on both accounts." And "Viewing violence may lead to real life violence." I applaud these associations for fortifying 1 Cor. 15:33. Read the rest of the story. From our more than eight years of study, I contend that other aberrant behaviors, attitudes, and expressions can be inserted in place of "violence" in that statement. Our Director - Child Psychology Support, a licensed psychologist and certified school psychologist concurs. For example, "Viewing arrogance against fair authority may lead to your kids defying you in real life." Or "Viewing sex may lead to sex in real life." Likewise and especially with impudence, hate and foul language. I further contend that any positive behavior can be inserted in place of "violence" with the same chance or likelihood of being a behavior template for the observer; of being incorporated into the behavior mechanics and/or coping skills of the observer. In choosing your entertainment, please consider carefully the "rest of the story" and our findings.

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    (1) As noted in CAP Special Report-001, "Investigation Area and Scoring Trend," of the six CAP Investigation Areas, Impudence/Hate was the strongest presence in all four movie classifications. It has a strong revelation about the entertainment media.

    (2) The use of the three/four letter word vocabulary without God's name in vain is incorporated into the Impudence/Hate Investigation Area. The use of God's name with or without the four letter expletive is incorporated into the Offense to God Investigation Area. There is no duplication.

    (3) Only portrayal of successful murder or suicide are incorporated into Murder/Suicide. Portrayal of attempts to commit murder or suicide and deaths by police action or war are incorporated into Wanton Violence/Crime.

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