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Family Movie Guide

By Times staff
© St. Petersburg Times
published September 26, 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.

RECOMMENDED

Joshua

(G) -- This Christian-themed drama about a contemporary Jesus Christ (Tony Goldwyn) is aimed directly at the church crowd. Nothing objectionable, unless viewers have different theological beliefs. The updating is consistently reverent and squeaky-clean.

RECOMMENDED WITH RESERVATIONS

Simone

(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 not likely to appeal to children.

Sweet Home Alabama

(PG-13) -- Reese Witherspoon's popularity in the youth market will be a major draw for this romantic comedy. Parents shouldn't worry about the film's content, including minor profanity, crude humor and a few jokes aimed at a gay character. Sensual tension is mild in Witherspoon's love triangle with Patrick Dempsey and Josh Lucas. Southerners may be offended by the film's Hee Haw attitude, an overused screen stereotype.

The Tuxedo

(PG-13) -- Well, it's a Jackie Chan movie, so that means an abundance of martial arts mayhem. But Chan's style is funnier, more family-friendly than most action movie heroes. Nothing graphic, just a bruising extension of the physical comedy of Chaplin and Keaton. Co-star Jennifer Love Hewitt adds some sexual heat to the mix, plus some of the moderate profanity.

NOT RECOMMENDED

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.

Barbershop

(PG-13) -- This bawdy comedy barely skirted an R rating despite an abundance of profanity (including a few F-words), genial criminals, numerous punch lines based on sex and one scene of marijuana smoking. Some worthwhile lessons in accountability, fidelity and friendship shine through in the third act, but the remaining comedy may be unsettling to parents watching with children.

Blue Crush

(PG-13) -- Beach parties aren't what they were when Frankie and Annette were catching rays. The modern version 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.

The Four Feathers

(PG-13) -- Children may have little interest in a 19th century British colonialism adventure, unless they're fans of co-stars Heath Ledger (A Knight's Tale) and Kate Hudson (Almost Famous). The PG-13 rating is due to "intense battle sequences, disturbing images, violence and some sensuality."

Possession

(PG-13) -- Children won't be very interested in romance among Victorian era poets and modern-day literary scholars inspired by them. Brief sensuality and profanity are the only questionable factors for parents to consider, but spending money for children to fidget or sleep should be reconsidered.

Signs

(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-9/11 fear, with doomsday themes that might 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.

Swimfan

(PG-13) -- The sexual and violent dynamics of Fatal Attraction are calmed down just enough for a PG-13 rating. Erika Christensen (Traffic) plays a high school student whose one-night stand with an athlete (Jesse Bradford) leaves her obsessed and agitated. The rating is due to those mature themes, sexual content, disturbing violence and profanity.

XXX

(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 "nonstop action sequences, sensuality, drug content and language."

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