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Film

Family Movie Guide

By STEVE PERSALL
Published February 17, 2005


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.

SUITABLE FOR FAMILIES

Are We There Yet? F

(PG) - A road trip with his girlfriend's children sounds like a nice way to impress, until the guy (Ice Cube) meets them. Crude humor, brief profanity.

Because of Winn-Dixie

(PG) - Child abandonment is a key theme in Wayne Wang's southern-fried tearjerker. Otherwise, only a few rude words interrupt a wholesome tale of a girl (Annasophia Robb), her scruffy dog, and a town filled with good-hearted folks.

Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events B-

(PG) - Fans of the popular children's book series know to expect playfully macabre danger from leeches, snakes and locomotives. A hyperkinetic Jim Carrey plays Count Olaf. Some of the images are scary, with mild child endangerment and briefly rude dialogue.

Pooh's Heffalump Movie

(G) - Absolutely nothing objectionable here, except Disney's packaging of a 68-minute movie created for home video as a feature-length theatrical release. Primarily geared to ages 6 and under.

Racing Stripes B-

(PG) - A zebra (speaking with the voice of Frankie Muniz) challenges thoroughbred racehorses with the assistance of other critters with celebrity voices (Mandy Moore, David Spade, Dustin Hoffman, etc.) Crude humor, briefly rude language.

Uncle Nino B-

(PG) - A kindly old Italian visits his U.S. relatives, urging them to become a closer family unit. A couple of rude insults and teenagers smoking (but getting strong anti-cigarette messages from Uncle Nino) are the only things that may concern parents. Otherwise, this is one of the most wholesome movies to come along in quite a while.

SUITABLE, WITH RESERVATIONS

The Aviator B

(PG-13) - Martin Scorsese's biography of tycoon Howard Hughes, with Leonardo DiCaprio in the title role, will appeal to some young viewers. The film includes two violent airplane crashes, several seduction scenes and mature themes, such as Hughes' obsessive-compulsive behavior. It's a decent history lesson but too long and socially quaint to thrill young moviegoers in general.

Coach Carter C+

(PG-13) - The true-life story of a basketball coach (Samuel L. Jackson) who placed academics above athletics should inspire teenagers, but appealing to an MTV audience means some possibly objectionable material: drug dealing, alcohol abuse, profanity, pregnancy, abortion, gun violence and lots of sensuality. For ages 15 and older.

Hotel Rwanda B

(PG-13) - The genocide of 1-million Africans a decade ago won't be absorbing to young viewers. Teenagers, however, can find inspiration in the Schindler's List-style heroics of hotel manager Paul Ruesabagina (Oscar nominee Don Cheadle), who attempts to save lives. Briefly gruesome violence and scary images of corpses, moderate profanity.

Son of the Mask

(PG) - More proof that the MPAA ratings board is loosening its reins: The PG rating is due to crude and suggestive humor, frenzied action (including Road Runner-style attempts to kill an infant) and mild profanity.

NOT SUITABLE

Boogeyman

(PG-13) - The MPAA cited this film's "intense scenes of horror and terror/violence, and some partial nudity." And still gave it a PG-13 rating. Go figure.

Hitch B-

(PG-13) - Will Smith is popular with young viewers, but the sexual references and profanity (including an f-word) are strictly for grown-ups.

Meet the Fockers B

(PG-13) - The sequel to Meet the Parents is even more risque, with loads of jokes about sexual behavior and numerous anatomically correct works of art and invention. Profanity is fairly strong, as is the crude humor.

Million Dollar Baby A

(PG-13) - Clint Eastwood's mature drama about a female boxer (Hilary Swank) is more about personalities than pugilism, with a tragic turn that may disturb young viewers. The film also contains profanity (including an f-word uttered by a priest) and boxing violence.

The Sea Inside A

(PG-13) - The story of a paralyzed sailor/author (Javier Bardem) who chooses to end his life won't interest many children, especially with English subtitles involved. The film includes profanity, sensuality and mature right-to-die issues.

The Wedding Date D-

(PG-13) - A plot involving a single woman (Will & Grace's Debra Messing) hiring a gigolo (Dermot Mulroney) for any reason should give parents pause. Sexuality is a constant theme in a comedy made with adults in mind.

[Last modified February 16, 2005, 08:32:04]


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