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 +
Cheaper by the Dozen C-
(PG) _ Harried father (Steve Martin) cares for his brood while his wife (Bonnie Hunt) is away. Mildly crude humor aside, this is fine family entertainment as long as the family isn't picky.
Dr. Seuss' the Cat in the Hat C
(PG) _ Another gently simple children's book gets blown up to Hollywood proportions with Mike Myers (and a terrific makeup job) playing the mischievous home intruder. The filmmakers sneak a few double-entendres into the mix, plus some mildly crude humor that kids love these days.
Peter Pan B-
(PG) _ The perilous aspects of the classic children's novel (crocodiles, Captain Hook, etc.) may be scarier with flesh-and-blood actors than Disney's animation. Mild violence in the more adventurous scenes.
Teacher's Pet (PG) _ The MPAA rating results from occasionally crude humor, but what should offend parents is Disney's ploy of stringing together three episodes of a defunct TV series, slapping the studio's trusted brand name on it and expecting children to steer adults to the theater.
WITH RESERVATIONS +
Calendar Girls B+
(PG-13) _ Based on a true story, members of a British women's society pose nude for a fundraising calendar. Genteel nudity of mature women played for sweet humor, brief profanity and one scene of a teenager caught smoking what appears to be marijuana. Recommended for ages 13 and older.
In America A
(PG-13) _ A young Irish family immigrates to New York in the 1980s, its story told from the perspective of two young girls (real sisters Sarah and Emma Bolger). Mature themes include grief over a child's death, a neighbor with AIDS and marital problems. Brief profanity and violence, and one scene of sexuality. Recommended for 13 and older.
Mona Lisa Smile C-
(PG-13) _ Teenage girls may glean a few lessons in this drama set in the 1950s about a professor (Julia Roberts) teaching assertiveness to her debutante students. Mature themes, including sexism, sexual experimentation and an older male seducing students, may be too risque for younger viewers. Recommended for ages 13 and older.
(PG-13) _ Ben Affleck stars as a man whose memory of the past two years has been erased. Directed by John Woo (Mission: Impossible, Face/Off), so expect intense action violence and brief profanity in a story created by science fiction author Philip K. Dick.
+ NOT RECOMMENDED +
Along Came Polly B-
(PG-13) _ Ben Stiller and Jennifer Aniston are teamed in a romantic comedy featuring sexual content, comical rear nudity, profanity, crude humor and drug references.
Big Fish B-
(PG-13) _ Brief profanity, one scene involving a bloody fistfight and a few glimpses of rear nudity in a supernatural sense shouldn't worry parents. However, Tim Burton's tale of a lifelong liar (Albert Finney) sharing his personal myth with an estranged son (Billy Crudup) won't interest small children. The film's pacing and mature themes make it suitable for ages 15 and older.
Chasing Liberty B
(PG-13) _ Teen favorite Mandy Moore plays a U.S. president's daughter having a fling outside the protection of the Secret Service. One scene of skinny-dipping (with a body double for Moore) and several sexual references, along with a defiance of parental authority theme and beer drinking.
The Lord of the Rings:
The Return of the King A
(PG-13) _ Peter Jackson's concluding chapter to the epic trilogy is the masterpiece fans expect it to be, but it isn't kid stuff. Numerous intense battle sequences are brutal, and the creatures encountered by Hobbits and other heroes are the stuff of nightmares. No profanity, sex or nudity, but the running time (201 min.) will test the patience of children.
My Baby's Daddy
(PG-13) _ Three babies born out of wedlock create a radical lifestyle change for their fathers (Eddie Griffin, Anthony Anderson, Michael Imperioli). That doesn't keep the movie from packing in the sexual content, crude humor, moderate profanity and drug references.
Something's Gotta Give C+
(PG-13) _ Jack Nicholson, Diane Keaton, Keanu Reeves and Amanda Peet create a romantic rectangle in a comedy built around the expectation that love can work outside one's age bracket. Strong profanity, brief nudity and numerous sexual references.
Stuck on You B-
(PG-13) _ All that parents need to know is that this is a comedy from the Farrelly brothers, who stretched the limits of good taste (and PG-13 parameters) with There's Something About Mary, Kingpin and Dumb & Dumber. This one stars Matt Damon and Greg Kinnear as conjoined twins who become celebrities by starring on a TV series with Cher. The MPAA rating is for crude and sexual humor and moderate profanity.
(PG-13) _ Motorcycle gangs collide on the streets of Los Angeles in a barrage of action violence, sexuality, profanity and drug references, not to mention lots of two-wheel tricks that kids shouldn't try at home.
Win a Date with Tad Hamilton!
(PG-13) _ A small-town grocery clerk (Kate Bosworth) wins a publicity stunt date with a famous actor (Josh Duhamel), making her best friend (Topher Grace) jealous. The MPAA rating is due to sexual content, occasional profanity and drug references.