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Family Movie Guide

By STEVE PERSALL, Times Film Critic

© St. Petersburg Times
published June 6, 2002

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.


Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron B -- (G) -- Nothing objectionable except animal peril, as a wild horse gallops through the Old West, meets good and bad humans and falls in love with a mare.

Recommended with reservations

Dogtown and Z-Boys A -- (PG-13) -- This true-life tale of the origins of extreme sports could be an interesting way to introduce young viewers to the documentary format. A group of disaffected teens in the 1970s created a cultural phenomenon still reverberating today. Brief drug references and occasional profanity including an f-word, but that's the fallout of these mean streets. Above all, there are lessons here about fulfilling dreams and potential that any child could use.

The Importance of Being Earnest B -- (PG) -- Students with an interest in theater arts may be interested in this frothy adaptation of Oscar Wilde's stage play. Other children likely will be bored by the romantic entanglements among London's upper crust. The production is too proper to resort to profanity, nudity or violence, with only brief hints of sexual sparks among the aristocrats.

Spider-Man B -- (PG-13) -- Comic book-style violence -- loud, incendiary and occasionally gruesome -- is the main concern for parents, whose children probably won't be deterred from seeing Spidey on the big screen. Some scary images, including Willem Dafoe's villainous Green Goblin makeup, but hardly nightmare material. More like daydreams.

Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones A- -- (PG) -- Jedi warriors are back in full Force in the next chapter of the Skywalker saga, a more mature, violent movie than the childish fantasy of Episode I: The Phantom Menace. Several sustained space battles contain explosive, occasionally gruesome violence, lightsaber fights and scary creatures, and the intrigue behind the birth of the evil Empire may bore young children. Otherwise, it's a cool way to spend a summer matinee.

Not recommended

About a Boy B+ -- (PG-13) -- Hugh Grant plays a philanderer lying to single mothers and persuading a boy (Nicholas Hoult) to pose as his son. Mature themes include suicide, single-parenting problems and arrested development. Minor profanity. Despite its young co-star, children won't find much of interest in this comedy made for adults.

Bad Company C -- (PG-13) -- Chris Rock has a youthful following, so this spy thriller and occasional comedy may appeal to them. Rock, however, isn't rolling at his HBO raunchiest here. The movie includes several episodes of violence and intense dread, plus a few sexually charged one-liners, and the moderate profanity includes one f-word.

Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood C+ -- (PG-13) -- Young boys won't have much interest in a cross-generational story of mothers and daughters. Young girls who don't already like the taste of Fried Green Tomatoes could also be bored. The PG-13 rating is due to mature themes (drug and alcohol abuse, child abuse) moderate profanity and brief sensuality including a discreetly topless joyride scene.

Enough D -- (PG-13) -- Jennifer Lopez has plenty of young fans, but Enough may be too much for them to handle. J.Lo plays a viciously abused wife who retaliates with excessive force. The rating is due to "intense scenes of domestic violence, some sensuality and language."

The Sum of All Fears B+ -- (PG-13) -- Young viewers aren't the target audience for movies based on Tom Clancy's CIA adventure novels. Much of this movie is more political talk than action, and the exciting parts depict the city of Baltimore under nuclear attack by terrorists, hardly a comforting thought for children these days. The disaster images may be troubling to some viewers. Other violence includes strangulation murder. Moderate profanity including one f-word. Mild sensuality.

Undercover Brother C -- (PG-13) -- Occasionally raunchy spoof of blaxploitation movies from the 1970s, so children won't get some of the best jokes anyway. Much of the humor is sexually charged, plus drug-abuse references and campy violence.

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