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Film

Family Movie Guide

By STEVE PERSALL
Published June 12, 2003

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

Daddy Day Care C-

(PG) - Eddie Murphy sanitizes his humor as an unemployed father opening a day care center at home. However, the movie is filled with children doing things parents won't want their kids to try at home, such as climbing on curtains, belching bubbles after swallowing soap and exhibiting bad toilet habits. Mildly rude language, one sexual innuendo. For ages 10 and younger only.

Finding Nemo A

(G) - The newest Pixar animated film will be as thrilling for children and entertaining for adults as the studio's previous hits, Toy Story and its sequel, and Monsters, Inc. The story of a father clownfish (voice by Albert Brooks) searching the seas for his lost son contains a few moments of peril that may briefly scare kids, but overall the movie is good, clean - and smart - fun.

Ghosts of the Abyss B+

(G) - Titanic director James Cameron revisits that historic tragedy, filming an expedition to explore the wreckage. The result is an exciting one-hour documentary filmed in 3-D (and IMAX-size proportions in other U.S. markets). Moderate true-life tension.

The Lizzie McGuire Movie C

(PG) - The clumsy, vivacious and popular Disney Channel character gets a movie. Hilary Duff's fresh-faced appeal is carefully dedicated to being a positive role model. The rating is due to "mild thematic elements" that won't bother children.

Rugrats Go Wild!

(PG) - Nickelodeon combines two of its most popular television franchises for a feature film, the precocious toddlers of Rugrats and the adventurous family, The Wild Thornberrys. Fans of the programs will expect the mildly crude "ick"-factor humor that earned the MPAA's rating.

Spellbound

(G) - Nothing is objectionable, but plenty is inspirational, in this documentary account of the 1999 National Spelling Bee. A culturally and socially diverse mix of young students and their supportive parents presents a positive view of youths that Hollywood seldom addresses in feature films.

RECOMMENDED WITH RESERVATIONS

Down with Love B+

(PG-13) - Sex is a constant topic in this tribute to the Doris Day-Rock Hudson comedies of the 1960s. Nothing happens overtly between Renee Zellweger and Ewan McGregor, but parents may be uncomfortable explaining some of their double-entendres to curious children. The film's period detail in conversation, fashion and music may not interest young viewers. No violence and nudity, and only a couple of profanities for laughs.

Holes A

(PG) - The Newbery Award-winning book inspires the comic adventures of juvenile delinquents at a detention camp forced by wicked guards (Sigourney Weaver, Jon Voight) to dig for buried treasure. The film contains mild profanity and violence, plus mature themes of corrupt authority figures and the heroes' brushes with the law. Recommended for ages 10 and older.

The Italian Job C+

(PG-13) - Moderate profanity, action violence (mostly car chases) and some sensuality provided by co-star Charlize Theron led to the PG-13 rating.

X2: X-Men United A-

(PG-13) - The original X-Men made comic-book movies cool again. The sequel is everything it should be for Marvel Comics fans, with loads of sci-fi (and mostly bloodless) violence, a couple of rude words for humor's sake, some mildly scary images and a brief bit of sensual behavior. Rebecca Romijn-Stamos' skin-tight Mystique costume leaves little to the imagination. For ages 10 and older.

NOT RECOMMENDED

2 Fast 2 Furious B-

(PG-13) - The sequel to 2001's surprise box office hit has more of the elements that made parents worry before: dangerous street racing in souped-up cars that should be performed only by professional drivers on closed courses, criminal violence that includes gunplay, moderate profanity and some sensuality. One torture scene involves a bucket, a rat and a blow torch. Kids shouldn't try any of this at home.

Bruce Almighty A

(PG-13) - Jim Carrey's film about a self-centered man with powers on loan from God (Morgan Freeman) marks his return to crude comedy with numerous sexual references, moderate profanity (one f-word), a marijuana reference and a take on religion that may offend some parents.

Hollywood HomicideC-

(PG-13) - Harrison Ford and Josh Hartnett co-star as detectives chasing the mass murderers of a hip-hop music group. Plenty of violence on their agenda, plus profane tough talk and sexual situations, including a kinky scene with Ford and Lena Olin.

The In-Laws C+

(PG-13) - Michael Douglas and Albert Brooks are fathers of the bride and groom on a CIA mission to halt weapons trading. The rating results from sexual suggestiveness, moderate profanity, drug references and James Bond-style action violence.

A Mighty Wind B-

(PG-13) - The latest improvised slice of eccentric life from director Christopher Guest (Waiting for Guffman, Best in Show) focuses on the 1960s folk-music culture that probably won't interest children. Several jokes are sexually charged, with mild profanity. But it's hard to imagine anyone younger than 15 understanding Guest's humor or enjoying his folk music parodies.

Dumb and Dumberer: When Harry Met Lloyd

(PG-13) - The prequel to 1994's Dumb and Dumber doesn't feature Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels, but viewers can expect the same kind of toilet-level humor, sexually charged jokes and profanity that made the original film such a hit.

[Last modified June 11, 2003, 10:43:35]


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