When publishing giant Joseph Pulitzer tries to cheat the newsboys working for his New York World News in 1899, he finds he has bitten off more than he can chew in NEWSIES, Disney’s latest musical venture. When Pulitzer cuts costs by raising the pick-up price charged the newsboys, young Jack Kelly, with the help of David, the “brains” of the outfit, urges the newsies to strike. Unable to break the strike, Pulitzer wages a personal war on Jack and David, threatening Jack with a return to the boy’s prison from which he escaped, and David with harm to his family. Still the determined newsies fight (and sing and dance) on to a final showdown that eventually gets the sympathetic attention of President Teddy Roosevelt himself.
NEWSIES is one of the better family films, largely due to the strength of its performances. Unfortunately, only two of the original songs will stay with you the next day, and the disregard for the law encouraged during the strike is troublesome–though it is not graphic enough to offend most viewers. Commendable, however, is the positive portrayal of nuns who feed the boys during the opening number. Viewed with caution, NEWSIES is a film for the whole family.
(C, B, L, V, A/D) This very positive portrayal of Christian charity is marred by 3 vulgarities, strike riots, and minors smoking.