I.O.U.S.A. (Patrick Creadon). 85 minutes. Opens Friday (October 24). For venues and times, see Movies. Rating: NNN
Just in time for Halloween, I.O.U.S.A. is the most frightening film of the year, even if the only red spilled is on an accountant's ledger.
A documentary about the most dreaded four-?letter word in the English language - D-?E-?B-?T - it is also the year's most timely film, given that we're on the verge of a global economic meltdown.
I.O.U.S.A. is based on Addison Wiggin and William Bonner's book Empire Of Debt, and directed by Patrick Creadon, who managed to make crossword puzzles interesting with his last doc, Wordplay. As you'd expect from a doc about dollars and cents, I.O.U.S.A. is filled with facts, figures, charts and statistics that don't always add up.
But there are plenty of stuffed shirts hanging around to help make sense of the economic hoodoo-voodoo at work. Richest man in the world Warren Buffett's droning fable about "Thriftville and Squanderville" is wisely animated, lending it a Schoolhouse Rock quality.
And Creadon mixes enough comic relief in among the straight shooters - Jon Stewart, Steve Martin, former president George H.W. Bush and clips from Saturday Night Live - to entertain as he educates.
Not that there's any joy in understanding America's $10-?trillion debt. (That's a 10 with 12 zeros after it.)
This surprisingly engaging tough-love lesson in fiscal responsibility will have you cutting up your credit cards even as you're dodging the collection agency.