Family movie guide
By Times staff
© St. Petersburg Times
published July 18, 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.
The Crocodile Hunter: Collision Course
(PG) -- Steve Irwin's appeal comes from handling dangerous wildlife such as spiders and snakes. Children who fear such critters may be scared by his movie debut. A sprinkling of mild profanity and bloodless gunfire won't offend many parents.
Hey, Arnold! The Movie
(PG) -- Nothing objectionable in this animated film based on the Nickelodeon favorite. The hero, a fourth-grader, organizes his neighborhood to prevent an unscrupulous land developer from bulldozing the town. A few mildly crude gags; fairly clean.
Lilo & Stitch
(PG) -- Children will love Stitch, an ill-tempered alien posing as a pet on Earth in Disney's summertime animation offering. Girls will bond with Lilo, a Hawaiian orphan dealing with a big sister, taunting classmates and loneliness. A few crude but harmless jokes and a few nice messages.
The Powerpuff Girls Movie
(PG) -- The rating is based on "nonstop frenetic animated action" as three genetically engineered children use superpowers to save the world.
Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron
(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.
Stuart Little 2
(PG) -- Children should have another fine time cheering Stuart Little, a heroic talking mouse adopted by humans. Mild slapstick violence against animals is too cartoonish to be taken serious. Mildly crude language.
(PG) -- The family-friendliness of Lil' Bow Wow's movie debut gets smudged a bit by two scenes: a reckless climb on an electrical power line during a lightning storm and a prescription drug switcheroo leading to illegal use of a motor vehicle. The rest of the movie is predictable fluff punctuated by cameo appearances by pro basketball stars such as Allen Iverson and Jason Kidd. A couple mild profanities.
Men in Black II
(PG-13) -- Sequel to the 1997 hit reunites Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones as intergalactic border patrol cops. Some creatures they encounter are nightmarish enough to upset small viewers, and the science fiction style of violence loudly substitutes alien goop for human blood. Mildly risque humor, and co-star Lara Flynn Boyle's costumes leave little to prepubescent imaginations.
(PG-13) -- Adam Sandler's fans will notice a gentler brand of humor in this remake of Frank Capra's 1936 classic Mr. Deeds Goes to Town. Sandler still sneaks in a slapstick brawl and a few coarse remarks, but the film remains generally true to Capra's spirit. Moderate profanity, some suggestive humor and alcohol abuse.
(PG) -- The venerable cartoon series turns to live actors and a computer-generated Great Dane. Freddie Prinze Jr. and Sarah Michelle Gellar will attract young viewers, and parents who tag along shouldn't be embarrassed by the material. Some crude humor, rude language and scary action.
(PG-13) -- Comic book-style violence -- loud, incendiary, 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 but hardly nightmare material.
Star Wars: Episode II -- Attack of the Clones
(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, light-saber fights and scary creatures, and the intrigue behind the birth of the evil Empire may bore young children.
The Bourne Identity
(PG-13) -- Matt Damon plays an amnesia victim gradually becoming aware that he's an assassination target. Mature spy themes, moderate profanity and several intense episodes of violence.
Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood
(PG-13) -- Young boys won't have much interest in a cross-generational story of mothers and daughters. Young girls who don't like the taste of Fried Green Tomatoes could also be bored. Mature themes including child abuse, moderate profanity and brief sensuality.
(PG-13) -- Moderate profanity and sex-related humor earned the MPAA rating for this basketball comedy. The story involves a male player posing as a woman to continue his career in the WNBA. Expect several naughty close calls in the locker room and sexual tension with Vivica A. Fox.
K-19: The Widowmaker
(PG-13) -- Too long and talky for many young attention spans, with a fact-based plot preventing any big-bang excitement. Some sequences involving atomic radiation poisoning are fairly graphic and the violence is based more on intimidation than actions. Older children interested in Cold War history may be entertained.
(PG-13) -- Only Steven Spielberg could get away with PG-13 for such a tense, violent and thematically frightening film. It's science fiction, which may attract young viewers, but the film's vision of a future world is too bleak and cerebral for some. Mature themes include drug addiction and grisly humor. Brief sexual situations and profanity.
Reign of Fire
(PG-13) -- Fire-breathing dragons and their sweaty hunters battle through intensely violent sequences that could cause nightmares.
The Sum of All Fears
(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 murder by strangling. Moderate profanity, including one f-word. Mild sensuality.
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