Family Movie Guide
By STEVE PERSALL
Published June 30, 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
The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl in 3-D F
(PG) - The MPAA rating results from mild action violence and a few crude remarks. Nothing else is objectionable in Robert Rodriguez's film, unless you count the lousy 3-D effects that give everything a pinkish-gray tint with minimal depth. If this is children's first 3-D experience, they may never try it again.
Herbie: Fully Loaded C-
(G) - Nothing to worry parents here. The cute, anthropomorphic Volkswagen wouldn't let down his fans by appearing less than squeaky clean.
(PG) - A few mild profanities and crude jokes (mostly flatulence and poop gags) earned the MPAA rating, along with a few thematic elements of peril and abandonment.
Mad Hot Ballroom A
(PG) - Nothing objectionable in this documentary about elementary school students in ballroom dancing competition. Brief references about neighborhood drug dealers, but only as an example of a lifestyle to avoid. One of the best films of the year is also an inspiration to children.
The Perfect Man C+
(PG) - Parents of Hilary Duff's fan base can feel comfortable with her latest role, playing matchmaker for her single mother (Heather Locklear). A few mildly suggestive jokes are tame, and easy to ignore.
(PG) - Martin Lawrence tones down his profane act to PG standards, in a film aimed at the Kicking & Screaming audience, this time with junior varsity basketball as its theme.
SUITABLE, WITH RESERVATIONS
Batman Begins B
(PG-13) - Children expecting a slam-bang comic book adventure may be bored by the film's first hour, before traumatized Bruce Wayne first appears as Batman. The film contains plenty of action violence and a few disturbing images created by the archvillain Scarecrow. Mature themes, including the death of parents and psychosis.
(PG-13) - Teenagers may enjoy this documentary of Los Angeles' krumping and klowning culture, a frenetic dance movement born in the streets. The film includes strong profanity, mostly in rap music lyrics. Recommended for ages 13 and older.
The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants B+
(PG) - Ann Brashares' popular novel for girls becomes a movie for anyone with an open heart. The summer escapades of four best friends (Amber Tamblyn, Alexis Bledel, America Ferrera, Blake Lively) revolves around mature themes such as mortality, divorce, sexual experimentation and social alienation, handling each with good taste. A few mild profanities and brief sensuality shouldn't concern many parents.
Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith A-
(PG-13) - The final chapter of the Skywalker family saga is the first to be rated stronger than PG by the MPAA. There are a few good reasons, especially in the final hour when Anakin (Hayden Christensen) turns completely to the Dark Side of the Force. A suggested mass murder of children may worry parents, and there are more severed limbs and heads of androids and humans than in previous episodes. Anakin's gruesome condition, which leads to his Darth Vader transformation, is a bit scary. Recommended for ages 10 and older.
War of the Worlds C+
(PG-13) - Steven Spielberg directs another sci-fi adventure with aliens, but these aren't cuddly E.T. or Close Encounters of the Third Kind types. The film is filled with tense, disturbing images that could frighten young viewers. Placing children in peril is a key theme.
(PG-13) - Nora Ephron's movie would be offensive enough to fans of the 1960s television sitcom even if it didn't include jokes dealing with sexuality and drug abuse, or profanity and Will Farrell's barely concealed total nudity in one spellbound scene. Rent the recently released DVD compilation set instead.
The Honeymooners C
(PG-13) - The updated version of the classic TV sitcom is racier than Jackie Gleason would ever allow, with numerous crude jokes and sexual innuendoes.
Ladies in Lavender A-
(PG-13) - Brief profanity isn't likely to bother children, but do they really want to see a movie about two spinsters (Maggie Smith, Judi Dench) vying for the attention of a mysterious man washed up on their Cornish shore in the 1930s?
The Longest Yard C
(PG-13) - Proof that the MPAA has relaxed its standards. Violence, jokes and profanities that earned an R rating for Burt Reynolds' 1974 prison football comedy are mostly repeated, and children can buy a ticket. Toss in several sexually charged jokes and a few drug references, and parents should be cautioned.
Lords of Dogtown B+
(PG-13) - The popularity of skateboarding makes this fact-based dramatization of the sport's grungy roots appealing to young viewers. Parents should be aware that these teenage daredevils in the 1970s had bad habits, including drug and alcohol abuse, profanity and sexual desires. No nudity, however, and violence is limited to a few thrown punches. The film makes heroes of juvenile delinquents, with noteworthy consequences.
Mr. and Mrs. Smith B
(PG-13) - The heat between Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie doesn't need nudity or graphic sexuality to be more than some parents want their children to view. The violence level is high, but mostly bloodless gunfire and explosions. Strong profanity.
[Last modified June 29, 2005, 09:43:07]
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