Family Movie Guide
By STEVE PERSALL
© St. Petersburg Times, published October 26, 2000
The Family Movie Guide should be used along with the Motion Picture Association of America rating system for selecting movies suitable for children. Films are categorized as "recommended" for family viewing, "recommended with reservations" and "not recommended" for family viewing, with a description of content that led to that categorization. Compiled by St. Petersburg Times film critic Steve Persall.
Digimon: The Movie
(PG) Recommended, but only if it's absolutely necessary to keep peace with children at home. Mild cartoon violence balanced by philosophy about good citizenship. Nothing offensive, unless the idea of Pokemon inspiring imitators-for-profit gets under your skin.
The Little Vampire C
(PG) Mildly amusing tale of a young boy (Jonathan Lipnicki), his vampire playmate and breaking a 300-year-old curse. No profanity, nudity or sex, and violence is mild stuff for the Goosebumps crowd. The movie includes images of the undead and creepy settings that could briefly frighten young children, but that's what Halloween entertainment is all about.
Mission to Mir B-
(Not rated, probably G) Space flight is a grabber for children, and this IMAX documentary blends textbook knowledge and zero-gravity stunts into a decent documentary. No profanity, nudity, sex or violence. Running only 40 minutes, the film and the massive IMAX exhibition process don't have time to lose children's attention.
RECOMMENDED WITH RESERVATIONS
Best of Show B-
(PG-13) Christopher Guest's bogus documentary of a posh dog show contains humor that may be too subtle to satisfy some younger moviegoers' tastes. The jokes include numerous sexually suggestive premises, without nudity. No violence and only mild profanity.
Bring It On C+
(PG-13) Teen girls may go gaga for this tale of a championship high school cheerleading squad's efforts to secure its title. Kirsten Dunst is likable as captain of the coed group, and so are a love interest played by Jesse Bradford and a new cheerleader portrayed by Eliza Dushku. The cheerleading sequences are as energetic as they ought to be. There's no nudity and just a sprinkling of profanity, but crude sexual remarks and gestures are abundant. And the filmmakers aren't exactly fighting against sexual objectification of young women. Not appropriate for the under-13 crowd.
Remember the Titans B+
(PG) Denzel Washington coaches a newly integrated high school football team to victories and brotherhood. Mature themes include dealing with racial prejudice, sexism and homophobia, with some locker room taunting possibly offensive to viewers. Profanity is relatively mild and within the usual PG-rating parameters. Violence is mostly football field mayhem.
Brendan Fraser (George of the Jungle) plays a lovable loser selling his soul to a sexy devil (Elizabeth Hurley) in exchange for seven wishes. He wants a more exciting life to impress a co-worker (Frances O'Connor), and some identity choices are for mature audiences only, including a South American drug kingpin. Sexual and occult references throughout, with gunfire violence and moderate profanity.
Meet the Parents A-
(PG-13) Loads of jokes about sex, religion, drug abuse and scatology make this inappropriate material for some children. Not much profanity, although Ben Stiller's suggestive character name is a running gag. No nudity and only a dash of sexual tension for laughs. Robert De Niro and Stiller are fine comic foils, but this film definitely isn't aimed at small children.
Pay It Forward C
(PG-13) What begins as an inspirational tale of a child (Haley Joel Osment) making the world a better place dissolves into a bleak melodrama about adult issues. Mature themes include alcohol and heroin addiction, spousal abuse and a memory of vicious child abuse. Brief violence sneaks into the film, leading to a downbeat climax. Strong profanity and some sexual references, including an erotic dance club setting and a discreet tryst.
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