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 +
The Country Bears B
(G) _ Good, clean fun from Disney, based on one of its most obsolete amusement-park attractions, the Country Bear Jamboree. The movie version is hipper and funnier, and it accomplishes that without objectionable material. A subplot concerning a bear adopted by humans and not fitting in shouldn't concern adoptive parents because of wise, responsible writing.
The Crocodile Hunter:
Collision Course C-
(PG) _ Steve Irwin's appeal comes from handling dangerous things such as spiders and snakes. Children who fear such critters may be scared by his movie debut. A sprinkling of mild profanity and bloodless gunfire won't offend many parents.
Hey, Arnold! The Movie B-
(PG) _ Nothing objectionable in this animated film based on the Nickelodeon favorite. The hero, a fourth-grader, organizes his neighborhood to prevent an unscrupulous land developer from bulldozing the town. A few mildly crude gags; fairly clean.
Lilo & Stitch B
(PG) _ Children will love Stitch, an ill-tempered alien posing as a pet on Earth in Disney's summertime animation offering. Girls will bond with Lilo, a Hawaiian orphan dealing with a big sister, taunting classmates and loneliness. A few crude but harmless jokes, and a few nice messages.
The Powerpuff Girls Movie D
(PG) _ The rating is based on "nonstop frenetic animated action" as three genetically engineered children use superpowers to save the world.
Stuart Little 2 B
(PG) _ Children should have another fine time cheering Stuart Little, a heroic talking mouse adopted by humans. Mild slapstick violence against animals is too cartoonish to be taken seriously. Mildly crude language.
WITH RESERVATIONS +
Like Mike C-
(PG) _ The family-friendliness of Lil' Bow Wow's movie debut gets smudged by two scenes: a reckless climb on an electrical power line during a lightning storm and a prescription drug switcheroo leading to illegal use of a motor vehicle. The rest of the movie is predictable fluff punctuated by cameo appearances by pro basketball stars such as Allen Iverson and Jason Kidd. A couple mild profanities.
Men in Black II B-
(PG-13) _ Sequel to the 1997 hit reunites Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones as intergalactic border patrol cops. Some creatures they encounter are nightmarish enough to upset small viewers, and the science-fiction style of violence loudly substitutes alien goop for human blood. Mildly risque humor, and co-star Lara Flynn Boyle's costumes leave little to prepubescent imaginations.
Mr. Deeds B-
(PG-13) _ Adam Sandler's fans will notice a gentler brand of humor in this remake of Frank Capra's 1936 classic, Mr. Deeds Goes to Town. Sandler still sneaks in a slapstick brawl and a few coarse remarks, but the film remains generally true to Capra's spirit. Moderate profanity, some suggestive humor and alcohol abuse.
(PG) _ The venerable cartoon series turns to live actors and a computer-generated Great Dane. Freddie Prinze Jr. and Sarah Michelle Gellar will attract young viewers, and parents who tag along shouldn't be embarrassed by the material. Some crude humor, rude language and scary action.
+ NOT RECOMMENDED +
Austin Powers in Goldmember B
(PG-13) _ The world's most shagadelic secret agent returns with more risque jokes, carnally suggestive sight gags and a general feeling of impudence toward good taste. Satirical spy violence, sexual situations, profanity. Think James Bond on Viagra and you'll get the idea.
The Bourne Identity C-
(PG-13) _ Matt Damon plays an amnesia victim gradually becoming aware that he's an assassination target. Mature spy themes, moderate profanity and several intense episodes of violence.
of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood C+
(PG-13) _ Young boys won't have much interest in a cross-generational story of mothers and daughters. Young girls who don't like the taste of Fried Green Tomatoes could also be bored. Mature themes including child abuse, moderate profanity and brief sensuality.
K-19: The Widowmaker C
(PG-13) _ Too long and talky for many young attention spans, with a fact-based plot preventing big-bang excitement. Some sequences involving atomic radiation poisoning are fairly graphic, and the violence is based more on intimidation than actions. Older children interested in Cold War history may be entertained.
Minority Report A
(PG-13) _ Only Steven Spielberg could get away with PG-13 for such a tense, violent and thematically frightening film. It's science fiction, which may attract young viewers, but the film's vision of a future world is too bleak and cerebral for some. Mature themes include drug addiction and grisly humor. Brief sexual situations and profanity.
Reign of Fire D-
(PG-13) _ Fire-breathing dragons and their sweaty hunters battle through intensely violent sequences that could cause nightmares.