Generally favorable reviews - based on 18 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 14 out of 18
  2. Negative: 1 out of 18
Watch On
  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. 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.
  3. If they handed out an Academy Award for Most Gripping Graphs and Charts, this film would take it.
  4. Reviewed by: Michelle Orange
    Both a handy election primer and a bowel-rattling cry of fiscal doom.
  5. 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.
  6. Reviewed by: Robert Koehler
    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.
  7. 75
    Though the filmmaking is playful at times, the film is essentially 90 percent message, 10 percent movie.
  8. It's this year's "An Inconvenient Truth."
  9. This smartly assembled wake-up call concerning the nation's lousy spending habits proves to be as unexpectedly spirited as it is dispiriting.
  10. Reviewed by: Sheri Linden
    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.
  11. Does about as good a job as any film could be expected to.
  12. George W. Bush is hammered for doubling the debt load with his high-spending, low-taxing ways.
  13. 75
    Although the movie is unabashedly alarming, it's also intelligent fun.
  14. 83
    An informative and frightening documentary.
  15. 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.
  16. Reviewed by: Justin Chang
    Highly informative documentary reps a heady mix of charts, graphs and talking heads... superb packaging and timely subject matter.
  17. 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.
  18. Equal parts enlightening and alarming.

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