The Family Movie Guide should be used along with the Motion Picture Association of America rating system for selecting movies suitable for children. Only films rated G, PG or PG-13 are included in this weekly listing, along with occasional R-rated films that may have entertainment or educational value for older children with parental guidance. Compiled by St. Petersburg Times film critic Steve Persall.
By Times staff
© St. Petersburg Times, published January 31, 2002
Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius
(G) -- Nickelodeon's popular cartoon kid character comes to the big screen. The plot concerns aliens kidnapping parents, but the fear factor remains low. Mild sci-fi violence and a couple of crude gags, but nothing objectionable.
(G) -- Pixar Animation Studios works the same computer wonders with bedtime creatures as it did before with toys and bugs. John Goodman and Billy Crystal give voice to cuddly monsters whose job is to scare children at bedtime. The film, however, should help youngsters overcome those fears rather than increase them. Nothing objectionable. A few jokes aimed at parents may leave young minds puzzled.
(PG) -- Cuba Gooding Jr. plays a Miami dentist who inherits a team of sled dogs and leads them through the Iditarod race. Affable comedy with only some mildly crude humor. The cute canines make up for any offensiveness.
The Count of Monte Cristo
(PG-13) -- Alexandre Dumas' classic novel enjoys its 12th screen incarnation with Jim Caviezel (Frequency) as a nobleman framed for murder by his best friend (Guy Pearce). The rating is due to swashbuckling violence, mostly swordplay, and brief sensuality.
(PG) -- J.K. Rowling's enormously popular novel is a magical movie, although some of the supernatural creatures and creepy settings are nightmare material for very young viewers. Minor fantasy violence and the off-screen murder of Harry's parents are included. Two mildly crude words dot the screenplay. Themes of witchcraft that alarm some parents are outweighed by the story's positive child empowerment and the moral that goodness rules.
(PG-13) -- Sentimental, stacked-deck melodrama about a mentally challenged single father (Sean Penn). Mature themes including a custody battle that doesn't do justice to the legal system. Moderate profanity including one f-word. Too long and treacly for younger tastes. Some redeeming positive images of mentally challenged people.
(PG-13) -- Meg Ryan and Hugh Jackman (X-Men) co-star as lovers from different centuries thrown together by one of those twists of Hollywood fate. Moderate profanity and mature romantic themes.
(PG) -- Amnesiac screenwriter (Jim Carrey) gets mistaken for a missing World War II hero and learns it's a wonderful life in small-town U.S.A. Moderate profanity and some mature themes.
(PG) -- A preacher's daughter (pop musician Mandy Moore) falls in love with the son (Shane West) of the richest man in town. Based on the novel by Nicholas Sparks (Message in a Bottle). Mature themes, mild profanity and some sensual elements, but suitable for girls over age 12.
A Beautiful Mind B+
(PG-13) -- Russell Crowe (Gladiator) shines in a biography of John Forbes Nash, a mathematician who could figure out anything except his paranoid psyche. Director Ron Howard's film deals with mature themes of mental illness and government intrigue that won't interest many small children. Moderate profanity, flashes of violence and brief sensuality also make this one for adults only.
(PG-13) -- Cheaply produced martial arts comedy incorporating footage from a 25-year-old Hong Kong kung fu movie with tasteless new footage. The MPAA rating results from comic violence, crude jokes and sexual humor.
(PG-13) -- The boundaries of PG-13 violence are shattered by Peter Jackson's elaborate adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien's literary adventure. The battle for control of Middle-earth features numerous bloody battles, decapitations, impalings and bone-bashings. Just because they usually happen to fantasy creatures rather than people doesn't make it different. Mild sensuality, mature themes and a 3-hour running time that may numb small children.
(PG-13) -- Eerie yarn spiced with gruesome images of a supernatural being that warns of impending death. Brief sensuality with co-stars Richard Gere and Debra Messing. Moderate profanity including an f-word. Too intense for younger viewers and paranoid enough to inspire nightmares in anyone of any age.
(PG-13) -- Remake of the 1960 Rat Pack caper with George Clooney, Brad Pitt and Matt Damon stepping in for Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Jr. Moderate profanity, including one f-word and an obscene gesture. Two scenes of strip-club sensuality, mild violence and a generally amoral attitude.
(PG-13) -- High school senior (Colin Hanks) planning to attend Stanford University gets sidetracked by his slacker brother (Jack Black, High Fidelity). Produced by MTV's film division, so expect plenty of anti-authoritarian behavior. The MPAA rating results from profanity, sexuality and drug content.