Metascore
70

Generally favorable reviews - based on 18 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 14 out of 18
  2. Negative: 1 out of 18
  1. 88
    It accomplishes an amazing thing. It explains the national debt, the foreign trade deficit, the decrease in personal savings, how the prime interest rate works, and the weakness of our leaders.
  2. If they handed out an Academy Award for Most Gripping Graphs and Charts, this film would take it.
  3. It's this year's "An Inconvenient Truth."
  4. There's no quick fix for a culture "addicted to debt," as one wag puts it in the film. But watching I.O.U.S.A. is a good place to start.
  5. 80
    They deliver a clear and compelling primer on the federal budget deficit, the trade deficit, and the personal debt crisis, all of which are driving our country toward a catastrophic financial meltdown.
  6. George W. Bush is hammered for doubling the debt load with his high-spending, low-taxing ways.
  7. 75
    Though the filmmaking is playful at times, the film is essentially 90 percent message, 10 percent movie.
  8. 75
    Although the movie is unabashedly alarming, it's also intelligent fun.
  9. Equal parts enlightening and alarming.
  10. 83
    An informative and frightening documentary.
  11. Reviewed by: Justin Chang
    80
    Highly informative documentary reps a heady mix of charts, graphs and talking heads... superb packaging and timely subject matter.
  12. This smartly assembled wake-up call concerning the nation's lousy spending habits proves to be as unexpectedly spirited as it is dispiriting.
  13. Does about as good a job as any film could be expected to.
  14. Perhaps, like Al Gore's lecture on global warming, the force of its argument will stir some of those who see it to further research the subject.
  15. There is a difference between the importance of a film's subject and the quality of a film's execution. And the execution is lacking. The film just isn't, well, very interesting.
  16. Reviewed by: Sheri Linden
    75
    Packed with facts, figures and the testimony of policy experts, the film is no wallow in wonkiness, though, but a surprisingly sprightly tough-love lesson in fiscal responsibility.
  17. Reviewed by: Michelle Orange
    60
    Both a handy election primer and a bowel-rattling cry of fiscal doom.
  18. Reviewed by: Robert Koehler
    10
    One graphic that I.O.U.S.A. doesn't include is a national balance sheet of our assets and liabilities, which would illustrate that the former is more than double the latter. We're in the black, and a film this deep in the red isn't something to be scared of at all -- or taken seriously.

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