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Family movie guide

By Times staff
© St. Petersburg Times
published August 22, 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 Country Bears

(G) -- Good, clean fun from Disney, based on one of its most obsolete amusement-park attractions, the Country Bear Jamboree. The movie version is hipper and funnier, and it accomplishes that without objectionable material. A subplot concerning a bear adopted by humans and not fitting in shouldn't worry adoptive parents; the writing is wise and responsible.

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.

Little Secrets

(PG) -- Some mature themes of honesty and confidentiality led to the MPAA rating. Otherwise, this is a sweet, low-budget tale of a young girl (Evan Rachel Wood) making money by keeping her friends' secrets the way other children operate lemonade stands. The film won the grand prize at the family-oriented Heartland Film Festival.

The Master of Disguise

(PG) -- Silly comedy starring Dana Carvey as a waiter who can transform himself into any person or object while pursuing a criminal. Mild profanity, crude humor.

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 seriously. Mildly crude language.


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; co-star Lara Flynn Boyle's costumes leave little to prepubescent imaginations.

Mr. Deeds

(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-13) - Al Pacino plays a movie producer who creates a computer-generated movie star, then helplessly watches her become a celebrity. Mild profanity, but the PG-13 rating mostly results from sensuality and themes that aren't likely to appeal to children.


Pluto Nash

(PG-13) -- Eddie Murphy's naughty side emerges on occasion as he plays a nightclub owner on the moon being muscled by lunar gangsters. Moderate profanity and sexually charged humor, plus gangland violence with a sci-fi touch

Austin Powers in Goldmember

(PG-13) -- The world's most shagadelic secret agent returns with more risque jokes, carnally suggestive sight gags and a general impudence toward good taste. Satirical spy violence, sexual situations, profanity. Think James Bond on Viagra and you'll get the idea.

Blue Crush

(PG-13) -- Beach parties aren't what they were when Frankie and Annette were catching rays. The modern style features skimpier bathing suits, a stronger sexual dynamic and a more violent fight. Girls may be inspired by the females tackling the male-dominated surfing world, but kids shouldn't try some of these stunts at their home beach.

Serving Sara

(PG-13) -- Matthew Perry (TV's Friends) takes another stab at movie stardom, this time as a process server with divorce papers for an elusive woman (Elizabeth Hurley). Moderate profanity, crude humor, fairly tame mob violence and sexual humor.


(PG-13) -- Mel Gibson plays a widower protecting his family from alien invasion. This is not a slam-bang adventure like Independence Day, however. Signs is a moody parable of post-Sept. 11 fear, with doomsday themes that may upset young viewers. The film contains two mildly violent episodes and a few comic-relief profanities, but no nudity or sex. Mature themes include a parent's gruesome death and a crisis of faith for Gibson's character, a former minister.


(PG-13) -- A new breed of secret agent (Vin Diesel) brings a lot of violence with him. XXX (pronounced Triple-X) is wall-to-wall action, with a hero breaking the law as much as enforcing it. The rating is from "non-stop action sequences, sensuality, drug content and language."

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