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Family Movie Guide

Times Staff
Published September 9, 2004

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!

(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.

The Princess Diaries 2: The Royal Engagement

(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. As was the first film, this one is squeaky clean and filled with delights for young female viewers.

Super Babies: Baby Geniuses 2

(PG) - This sequel to a 1999 flop features more toddlers with computer-animated mouths and bodies doing preternatural things while adult actors fake awe. The MPAA rating is the result of action violence and a few rude comments.

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 results from "scary combat and monster images."


Napoleon Dynamite

(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.

The Village

(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.

Anacondas: The Hunt for the Blood Orchid

(PG-13) - Explorers searching for the flower of youth meet a bunch of giant snakes. That means action violence, skin-crawling images (especially for viewers afraid of snakes) and bad words people often say when they are scared.

The Bourne Supremacy

(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) - Kim Basinger stars in a kidnap thriller that may be too intense for younger viewers. The MPAA also cites violence, profanity and sexual references as reasons for the rating.

The Cookout

(PG-13) - A basketball player (Quran Pender) signs a pro contract and invites the neighborhood to celebrate at his new mansion, creating cross-cultural humor along the lines of TV's Method and Red. The MPAA rating cites "drug content, sexual references and language."


(PG-13) - A teenage girl (Cara Seymour) living in poverty seduces a wealthy family to improve her lot in life. The film was originally rated R for its sexual content and profanity, before producers won an appeal with the MPAA.

I, Robot

(PG-13) - Will Smith's science-fiction adventure includes mild profanity, futuristic action violence and brief partial nudity.

Vanity Fair

(PG-13) - This lavish adaptation of William Makepeace Thackeray's 19th century novel doesn't contain any role models, and the era generally won't appeal to younger tastes, anyway. Only a dash of sensuality and a brief, comical shot of rear nudity, but teenagers dying to see what Reese Witherspoon does next will be interested.

Wicker Park

(PG-13) - Josh Harnett plays an investment banker obsessed with following a woman who may be his former lover, which doesn't sit well with his fiancee. The MPAA rating cites "sexuality and language."

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