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. 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.
+ RECOMMENDED +
102 Dalmatians B
(G) Sequel to the 1996 Disney remake of a previously animated idea. Glenn Close returns as cackling Cruella De Vil, again stalking those cute, spotted pups for their pelts. Slapstick violence; no sex or nudity. Several scenes contain a doggie-endangerment factor that may briefly upset small children. There's never any serious doubt that things will turn out fine.
A Hard Day's Night A+
(G) Nothing objectionable in this classic Beatles flick, although mature viewers may recognize a few cheeky adult references unnoticed in 1964. Great music. It might be nice for youngsters to see what rock 'n' roll was like before sex, violence and intolerance gummed up the works. Just tell them it's a long black-and-white MTV video.
The Emperor's New Groove B-
(G) Nothing offensive in this uninspired Disney animated throwaway. David Spade and John Goodman lend their voices to a South American fantasy making DreamWorks' similar The Road to El Dorado look better. This one feels like a home video release waiting to happen, but small children will be moderately entertained.
How the Grinch Stole Christmas C
(PG) Dr. Seuss' popular children's book becomes a live-action showcase for Jim Carrey. The story is intact, albeit crammed into the final 20 minutes. The rest of the movie is frantic eye candy that should keep youngsters entertained. Nothing objectionable except a couple of mildly crude jokes and the exploitation of a literary icon.
Rugrats in Paris
(G) Nickelodeon's popular cartoon series gets another theatrical showcase for its toddler's-eye view of the world. Jokes are mostly tame, with toilet gags to be expected with so many diapers around. No sex, and violence is typical cartoon slapstick with a few tense, tame moments for these young heroes. No profanity, although some
Rugrats dialogue winks at more mature sensibilities.
WITH RESERVATIONS +
Cast Away A
(PG-13) Tom Hanks stars as a workaholic stranded on a deserted island after an airplane crash. Robert Zemeckis' film traces his primal survival and emotional return home with pacing that may not satisfy younger viewers. This isn't a cutesy-pie Robinson Crusoe tale. Mild profanity, no nudity or sex, but Hanks wears a skimpy loincloth. No violence, although the air disaster and natural perils are perhaps too intense for children.
Dungeons and Dragons
(PG-13) Live-action version of the popular parlor game in which demons and wizards compete for control of a magic kingdom. The MPAA noted the film's fantasy-world violence _ but no sex or profanity _ when the PG-13 rating was announced. Expect
lots of sword-swinging, supernatural mayhem.
The Family Man B-
(PG-13) Playboy executive (Nicolas Cage) gets a glimpse of what life could have been, thanks to a spiritual guide (Don Cheadle). Moderate profanity and discussion of mature themes. Mild sexuality, brief, discreetly concealed nudity. Children probably aren't as interested in midlife crises as their parents.
Finding Forrester B-
(PG-13) Young, African-American private school student (Rob Brown) discovers that a reclusive white author (Sean Connery) lives in his Bronx neighborhood. Both outcasts help each other cope with a world outside their own. Moderate profanity and rude-speak. No nudity, sex or violence. Some positive ideas about the importance of literacy sneak through the melodrama. Recommended for ages 13 and older.
Miss Congeniality B
(PG-13) Sandra Bullock plays an FBI agent going undercover as a beauty pageant contestant. Moderate profanity and gender-baiting remarks. Violence includes an introductory shoot-out and bomb threats. No nudity, but anatomical references are common in this comedy. Recommended for ages 13 and older.
Red Planet C
(PG-13) The usual science fiction stuff, with Val Kilmer and Carrie-Anne Moss (The Matrix) leading an expedition to colonize Mars. Violence includes a killer robot with crunching martial arts skills, carnivorous space roaches and lots of explosions. Not much blood. Brief shower-stall nudity from Moss. Profanity includes one f-word for humor.
(PG-13) Ordinary guy (Bruce Willis) survives a train crash without a scratch. Eerie guy (Samuel L. Jackson) thinks the survivor is a comic-book superhero. Not as scary as The Sixth Sense, but a late twist includes a creepy home invasion, bondage and off-screen murder. Minor profanity. No nudity or sex. Mature themes include a child coping with his parents' troubled marriage. Recommended for ages 13 and older.
Vertical Limit B-
(PG-13) Snowbound cliffhanger includes several tense scenes to upset anyone who fears heights or helicopter rotors. Violence is mostly humans-against-nature material, with nature winning in terms of crushed bones and frostbitten extremities. Profanity is moderate except for one "f-word." No nudity or sex but a couple of suggestive wisecracks. Alcohol abuse.
+ NOT RECOMMENDED +
All the Pretty Horses B
(PG-13) Not much action here to interest children despite the cowboy motif. Matt Damon plays a Texas wrangler falling in love and trouble in Mexico. Mild tough talk. A glimpse of nudity during a sensual scene with Damon and Penelope Cruz. Violence is a constant companion on the trail, including two brutal stabbing attacks in prison and a gunfight. Too slow for young viewers.
(PG-13) Ben Affleck and Gwyneth Paltrow fall in love on-screen. No violence, only a smattering of profanity and just a hint of nudity. Alcoholism figures into a key character. The film's central mature themes _ the death of a beloved father in an airline catastrophe and a mother's new relationship _ could disturb some children, or else they may be bored silly by all this grown-up angst.
Charlie's Angels C
(PG-13) This remake of the 1970s television series is sexier and more violent than the original. Explosions and martial arts mayhem are bloodless, yet occur constantly. Much of the humor springs from erotic double entendres, and the new Angels _ Drew Barrymore, Lucy Liu and Cameron Diaz _ encourage gawkers with their revealing costumes and seductive ways. Brief nudity in a computer-enhanced special effect. Mild profanity.
(PG-13) Even with English dialogue, Lasse Hallstrom's film has the earmarks of a foreign film, and not many youngsters are interested in those yet. Juliette Binoche plays a stranger opening a candy shop in a French village. Her treats tempt the citizens during Lent, so religion is a key theme. No nudity, but the candy inspires some sensual feelings. Violence includes a scene of domestic abuse. Mild profanity.
Dude, Where's My Car?
(PG-13) Twentieth Century Fox prevented critics from seeing this juvenile sex-drugs-rock 'n' roll comedy, but preview trailers and the MPAA report plenty of marijuana and alcohol abuse, close calls with strippers and general disrespect for authority. Kids shouldn't try this movie at home soon or theaters now.
Little Nicky D
(PG-13) Adam Sandler's new comedy casts him as Satan's son, sent to upper Earth to stop his wicked brothers from causing trouble. Numerous profanities (including an f-word) and crude comments. No nudity or sex, but they are occasional topics for jokes, including Jon Lovitz's turn as a peeping Tom. Violence of the hellfire and brimstone type but nothing rash. The occult subtext could offend some viewers.
The Sixth Day
(PG-13) Arnold Schwarzenegger battles evil cloning scientists. There's the usual Schwarzenegger violence factor, including fatal gunshots and a laser gun amputating fingers and legs. No sex, although brief nudity is shown when clones come to life. A standard amount of profanity for the PG-13 rating. The intensity of the violence makes it tough to recommend for family viewing.
What Women Want C+
(PG-13) Mel Gibson stars as a man bestowed with the power to read the minds of women, and most of their thoughts are about sex. One scene features Gibson and co-star Marisa Tomei feigning post-coital pleasure. Others include discussions of orgasms, penis envy and Nick's childhood among Las Vegas showgirls. No violence, which may be a first for a Gibson flick. No nudity and only a smattering of profanity.