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.



Reviews Counted: 65

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User Ratings: 1,814


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Reviews Count: 0
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Average Rating: 3.9/5

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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 (24)

  • 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
  • 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…
  • A documentary about the U.S. addiction to debt, I.O.U.S.A. could have easily taken the title of another movie released this week, What Just Happened?

    Oct 24, 2008 | Rating: 3/4

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

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 Boxler
Edward Boxler

Super Reviewer


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 Prisbylla
Sarah Prisbylla

Super Reviewer

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 Lilly
Curtis Lilly

Super Reviewer


This documentary is very good at breaking things down for the layman who knows our economy is broken--but doesn't understand the specifics. I knew that we were in a bad state, but never knew how bad things really were. This movie shows you a lot of numbers, figures, graphs and pie charts--as well as plenty of interview footage with some of the most prominent experts and people directly involved. It is shocking to see the staggering figures on the screen and learn that things are still not over. Of course--it's not all doom and gloom. There is ultimately hope for a fix in the bleeding treasury. And, as the movie points out, it's up to the individual citizen to curb our own selfish spending and elect leader who will act. Many may be put off by the presentation (which is more facts than it is entertainment) but this is a documentary that every American citizen should watch before going on shopping sprees at Neiman-Marcus.

Rico Zamora
Rico Zamora

Super Reviewer

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