Critics Consensus

A potent and lithely constructed documentary about America's financial crisis, I.O.U.S.A grabs you with figures but holds you with irreverent wit.



Total Count: 65


Audience Score

User Ratings: 1,810
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I.O.U.S.A. Photos

Movie Info

"I.O.U.S.A." examines the rapidly growing national debt and its consequences for the United States and its citizens. As the Baby Boomer generation prepares to retire, will there even be any Social Security benefits left to collect? Burdened with an ever-expanding government and military, increased international competition, overextended entitlement programs, and debts to foreign countries that are becoming impossible to honor, America must mend its spendthrift ways or face an economic disaster of epic proportions. Throughout history, the American government has found it nearly impossible to spend only what has been raised through taxes. Wielding candid interviews with both average American taxpayers and government officials, director Patrick Creadon helps demystify the nation's financial practices and policies. The film follows U.S. Comptroller General David Walker as he crisscrosses the country explaining America's unsustainable fiscal policies to its citizens. Creadon interweaves archival footage and economic data to paint a vivid and alarming profile of America's current economic situation. The ultimate power of "I.O.U.S.A." is that the film moves beyond doomsday rhetoric to proffer potential financial scenarios and propose solutions about how we can recreate a fiscally sound nation for future generations.

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Critic Reviews for I.O.U.S.A.

All Critics (65) | Top Critics (25)

  • This solid doc reminds us how unsustainable the current American economy is.

    Nov 14, 2008 | Rating: 3/6 | Full Review…

    Dave Calhoun

    Time Out
    Top Critic
  • Unexpectedly entertaining, given that it's about dodgy accounting on an epic scale, the film predicts an economic cold shower that is about to douse America's prospects, thanks to its ever-expanding national debt.

    Nov 14, 2008 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…

    Wendy Ide

    Times (UK)
    Top Critic
  • This movie is a scary, exhilarating blast of atheist common sense.

    Nov 14, 2008 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…
  • A movie that should be seen by everyone.

    Oct 31, 2008 | Rating: B | Full Review…

    Tom Long

    Detroit News
    Top Critic
  • You will not likely forget the Jeremiad it presents about how the United States has been living on borrowed money -- and borrowed time -- for decades and now is presenting the bill for our extravagance to our grandchildren.

    Oct 30, 2008 | Rating: 3.5/5 | Full Review…
  • I.O.U.S.A. is a clear, cogent and compelling primer on contemporary American economics and the not-so-small matter of how we ended up at the edge of a precipice.

    Oct 24, 2008 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for I.O.U.S.A.

  • Sep 15, 2010
    A very in depth documentary that breaks down America's economic problem into layman's terms and emphasizes just how big this problem is. The true horror of the situation is that the idiot leaders of the most powerful nation in the world have still not been able to foresee this problem and are not doing anything about it. One thing I know the filmmakers don't want to see is their prediction come true, and hopefully, the right people see this film.
    Edward B Super Reviewer
  • Aug 22, 2010
    A great wake-up call. The unfortunate part is I'm sure only a very small fraction of the American public has seen this film, let alone even know this problem exists. So wake-up everyone: We can't have it all and expect to go on the way we do now.
    Sarah P Super Reviewer
  • Jul 17, 2010
    This is a doc that every person should see. We've all heard our whole life about the national debt and how it's really bad, but this film really crystallized how bad it is going to get in a very short period of time if we don't do something soon. My main criteria for rating this so high is how well the film gets across the facts and explains how we got to where we are, and where we are headed. (FYI- This is on Netflix streaming)
    Grifty G Super Reviewer
  • Sep 28, 2009
    We're screwed. I like how people in the government spend our tax money on $450 tatoos, $20,000 Hawaiian vacations, and Girls Gone Wild videos. The sad thing is this film was made in 2007, talking about how bad Bush made the economy, and how the next President will hopefully make it better. How depressing...
    Curtis L Super Reviewer

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