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Family movie guide

By STEVE PERSALL

© St. Petersburg Times, published June 7, 2001


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

Journey to Amazing Caves A

(Not rated, probably PG) -- True-life perils of scientists exploring caverns are expanded into IMAX proportions at the Museum of Science and Industry in Tampa. Nothing objectionable, although tense situations and the sensory overload of IMAX-sized sight and sound could upset some viewers. Overall, a fine documentary filmed underneath Arizona, Greenland and Mexico.

Shrek B

(PG) A gently mocking animated fairy tale about an ogre (voice of Mike Myers) rescuing a spellbound princess (Cameron Diaz). Viewers will hear a few mild profanities and sexual innuendoes that will sail over the heads of children. Violence is minimal, although some effects might frighten youngsters. Shrek is short (89 min.) and sweet.

Spy Kids B

(PG) Harmless blend of James Bond gizmos and Willy Wonka fantasy from director Robert Rodriguez, much tamer here than in his calling cards, El Mariachi and From Dusk Till Dawn. Violence is bloodless and played for humor. No profanity, nudity and only a whiff of sexual innuendo. Frantic enough to occupy children and frisky enough for parents.

RECOMMENDED WITH RESERVATIONS

A Knight's Tale B

(PG-13) -- Lively mix of medieval jousting and modern rock 'n' roll that should be a hit with young viewers. Not much here to offend; even glimpses of rear nudity are played for laughs. Mild profanity, minor sexual tension. Violence is restricted to tournament jousts and swordplay with only smidgens of blood.

Driven C-

(PG-13) -- Sylvester Stallone plays a retired CART racing champion back for one more lap around the track. Moderate profanity among combative drivers and their love interests. No sex or nudity. No violence per se, but director Renny Harlin fills his movie with chilling racing stunts that could either give young viewers nightmares or bad ideas when they get their licenses.

Pearl Harbor B-

(PG-13) -- Nearly 90 minutes is used to depict the Pearl Harbor bombing that ignited World War II. That kind of relentless violence, although not as graphic as Saving Private Ryan, could be disturbing to young viewers. Same with the film's bloody images images of casualties. Brief sensuality and moderate profanity. Patriotic, heroic themes can make parents feel better about their children watching.

NOT RECOMMENDED

The Animal

(PG-13) -- Former Saturday Night Live comedian Rob Schneider plays an auto accident victim whose internal organs are replaced by animal parts. Just another lame excuse for tasteless jokes about bodily functions, bestiality and toilet-and-groin humor. Children will see it on video soon enough.

Evolution D

(PG-13) -- Ghostbusters-style comedy with more crude humor and scary science fiction special effects than that comedy classic had. Gnarly, violent space creatures threaten Earth, and Mr. X-Files himself, David Duchovny, slouches to the rescue. Moderate profanity, sexual humor and low-brow jokes make this questionable for children of any age. The nightmare factor is high for impressionable youngsters.

Joe Dirt

(PG-13) -- Socially irresponsible redneck janitor (David Spade) gets in trouble's way over his mullet haircut. Many jokes involve sophomoric attitudes about sex, demeaning women for cheap laughs. Other jokes simply aim for the toilet-humor crowd. No nudity, but aren't leering remarks about bodies bad enough? Moderate profanity and extensive crudeness. Violence committed against Joe Dirt is nearly a relief.

Moulin Rouge B

(PG-13) -- Baz Luhrmann's scandalous Parisian fantasy is too sophisticated for young viewers with its wildly original cinematic style and bawdy material. Nicole Kidman plays a singer whose prostitution is a key element of the plot. Sexual situations include Cabaret-style decadence, strong suggestions of rape. Mild profanity and violence.

The Mummy Returns C

(PG-13) -- Sequel to the 1999 adventure The Mummy is crammed with violence (albeit bloodless) and frightening images. There are more gunshots, slashings and bashings here than in most R-rated movies. Creature effects are the stuff of nightmares. Minor profanity, mild sexual heat, no nudity.

What's the Worst That Could Happen?

(PG-13) -- Martin Lawrence's penchant for crude sexual humor and profanity surfaces again, playing a thief rivaling mobster Danny DeVito. Minor violence, no nudity, no jokes. What's the use?

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