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I.O.U.S.A. 

A sobering new doc looks at America's ballooning national debt

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It's admittedly tough to get audiences to go see feel-bad films, particularly when the message is: The United States is headed off a financial cliff very soon, and with all of us on board. But in a lucky break for director Patrick Creadon (Wordplay) and the alarm-bearers in his film -- among them former U.S. Comptroller General David Walker, Rep. Ron Paul, Warren Buffet and former Secretary of the Treasury Paul O'Neill -- America is currently obsessed with macro-economics. (The ongoing credit crisis is not directly addressed in I.O.U.S.A., but it's part of the debt sickness.) Unlike some other docs on serious and complex issues, I.O.U.S.A. doesn't sexy up its material with funny quips or goofy old footage; this is a grim, good-for-you outing comprised of talking-head interviews and charts. (You may get one laugh from an excerpted SNL skit about savings vs. credit.) Simple graphics help illustrate how we got in this mess and which new economic disasters are likely ahead, though because solutions are less precise, I.O.U.S.A. ultimately feels move overwhelming than empowering. In its coda of dire warnings, the film predicts that the national debt will hit $10 trillion in January 2009. As it to underscore the film's frantic call that the U.S. debt crisis is out of control, we hit that dismaying benchmark last week. Starts Fri., Oct. 17. Squirrel Hill

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