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.
Benji: Off the Leash! C+
(PG) - Rather than the Benji character, the film focuses on two puppies hidden by a boy from his ill-tempered father, a dog breeder. Topics include animal cruelty (not graphically depicted) and family strife, but nothing too disturbing. Mild profanity.
A Cinderella StoryC-
(PG) - Hilary Duff's popularity makes this an appealing film for young girls, who won't be bothered by a few bad words and innuendoes while their idol finds Prince Charming in high school.
The Princess Diaries 2: The Royal Engagement C
(G) - The sequel to 2001's surprise hit continues the fairy tale of an American teenager (Anne Hathaway) growing into her destiny as ruler of a fictional European country. Like the first film, this one is squeaky clean and filled with delights for young female viewers.
(PG) - Live-action remake of a 1960s puppet-show TV series that few of today's children recognize. They'll enjoy the science-fiction adventure aspects, while parents are nostalgic. Mild action violence and brief profanity.
Yu-Gi-Oh!: The Movie
(PG) - Fans of the imported Japanese TV series, and ensuing card collecting, may enjoy this big-screen version, a slightly more mature version of Pokemon. The MPAA rating is the result of "scary combat and monster images."
RECOMMENDED WITH RESERVATIONS
(PG) - This low-budget comedy may strike a chord with social outcasts such as its hero (Jon Heder), a painfully awkward high school student. The jokes are mostly at his expense, the profanity is mild, and a few jokes concerning his brother's door-to-door sales job are risque. Recommended for ages 12 and older.
Riding Giants B+
(PG-13) - Brief profanity is the only objectionable material in a superbly photographed documentary of surfing history and thrills. Children with such interests will be entertained, although parental cautions about trying some of these dangerous waves is probably in order.
Spider-Man 2 A-
(PG-13) - Just try to keep children away from this movie. The good thing for parents is that Spider-Man 2 remains as safe for kid consumption as 2002's first installment, without profanity, nudity or sexual situations. The film's sci-fi violence is hectic and occasionally scary but tame compared to some action flicks available to preteens. Recommended for ages 10 and older.
The Village A
(PG-13) - M. Night Shyamalan, creator of The Sixth Sense and Signs, returns with another creepy tale, this one involving forest creatures who break their truce with a 19th century community. The MPAA rating results from one violent scene and several others with Shyamalan's brand of skin-crawling terror; not graphic, but effective. Could be nightmare material for viewers younger than 10.
Alien vs. Predator
(PG-13) - Two of the grisliest creatures from R-rated horror films are defanged just enough to earn a PG-13 rating and the child audience that comes with it. There's still plenty of violence, horror images, scary special effects and profanity to give parents, if not their children, nightmares.
Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy D
(PG-13) - Will Ferrell plays a 1970s TV newsman whose sexist attitude clashes with a new co-anchor (Christina Applegate). The film was rated R until trims were made, yet it still includes numerous sexual references, profanities and comical violence, chiefly a rumble between competing television stations.
The Bourne Supremacy B+
(PG-13) - Matt Damon returns as a professional assassin framed by the CIA and not happy about it. As in 2002's The Bourne Identity, this film includes intense action, loud violence of the gunshot and car-chase varieties, and moderate profanity.
(PG-13) - Halle Berry's provocatively ripped, form-fitting costume is evidence of the sexual underpinnings in this comic book adaptation. Benjamin Bratt plays the detective whose leg Catwoman rubs up against. Plenty of intense action violence and brief profanity.
I, Robot B
(PG-13) - Will Smith's science fiction adventure includes mild profanity, futuristic action violence and brief partial nudity.
Little Black Book D
(PG-13) - A woman (Brittany Murphy) nervous about her lover's past romances snoops into his Palm Pilot, paving the way to comedic discussions of sex, love, sex and more sex. That pervasive theme and moderate profanity make the film inappropriate for children.