Family Movie Guide 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 +
Christmas With the Kranks C
(PG) _ A married couple (Tim Allen, Jamie Lee Curtis) decide to forgo Christmas events and expenses, upsetting their neighborhood in a sitcom-level comedy. A couple of rude words and sexual suggestions aren't enough to keep children away.
Fat Albert B
(PG) _ Bill Cosby's beloved cartoon character and his pals escape from television into modern-day Philadelphia, where changes in social mores create fish-out-of-water comedy. A few rude words and crude jokes won't offend.
Lemony Snicket's A Series
of Unfortunate Events B-
(PG) _ Fans of the popular children's book series know to expect playfully macabre danger from leeches, snakes and locomotives. A hyperkinetic Jim Carrey plays Count Olaf. Some of the images are scary, with mild child endangerment and briefly rude dialogue.
(PG) _ A zebra (speaking with the voice of Frankie Nunez) challenges thoroughbred race horses with the assistance of other critters with celebrity voices (Mandy Moore, David Spade, Dustin Hoffman, etc.) Crude humor, briefly rude language.
SquarePants Movie C
(PG) _ The popular underwater cartoon hero brings his wacky brand of mildly crude humor to the silver screen. If the TV show doesn't offend, this shouldn't. RECOMMENDED
The Aviator B
(PG-13) _ Martin Scorsese's biography of tycoon Howard Hughes, with Leonardo DiCaprio in the title role, will appeal to some young viewers. The film includes two violent airplane crashes, several seduction scenes and mature themes, such as Hughes' obsessive-compulsive behavior. It's a decent history lesson but too long and socially quaint to thrill young moviegoers in general.
Coach Carter C+
(PG-13) _ The true-life story of a basketball coach (Samuel L. Jackson) who placed academics above athletics should inspire teenagers, but appealing to an MTV audience means some possibly objectionable material: drug dealing, alcohol abuse, profanity, pregnancy, abortion, gun violence and lots of sensuality. For ages 15 and older.
Finding Neverland B
(PG) _ Married playwright J.M. Barrie (Johnny Depp) creates Peter Pan, inspired by his friendship with a widow (Kate Winslet) and her sons. No infidelity and only a hint of the whispers of pedophilia that followed Barrie in real life. Mature themes include a terminally ill parent. For ages 12 and older.
Flight of the Phoenix C+
(PG-13) _ A pilot (Dennis Quaid) must rebuild a crashed airplane to save passengers from perishing in the Mongolian desert. That spells loud action, occasionally violent acts and moderate profanity under pressure.
Hotel Rwanda B
(PG-13) _ The genocide of 1-million Africans a decade ago won't be absorbing to young viewers. Teenagers, however, can find inspiration in the Schindler's List-style heroics of hotel manager Paul Ruesabagina (Golden Globe nominee Don Cheadle) attempting to save lives. Briefly gruesome violence and scary images of corpses, moderate profanity.
Ocean's Twelve B-
(PG-13) _ More larcenous behavior from the 21st century Rat Pack (George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, etc.), but good-natured enough that amorality isn't an issue. Moderate profanity earned the MPAA rating.
The Phantom of the Opera B+
(PG-13) _ Andrew Lloyd Webber's popular Broadway musical comes to the screen, with more elaborate violence than the stage production allowed. The operatic musical score could turn off young viewers, but teenagers with interest in the theater may be inspired.
(PG-13) _ Young moviegoers love Adam Sandler, but this comedy is more mature than usual for him. Sandler plays an unhappily married man getting close to his new housekeeper (Paz Vega) and her daughter. The film includes sexual content and moderate profanity, and children may be disappointed that this isn't The Waterboy II.
(PG-13) _ Jennifer Garner (Alias) reprises her Daredevil role as an acrobatic martial artist and assassin. The MPAA rating is the result of action violence, of which there is plenty.
In Good Company B-
(PG-13 _ Despite the presence of teen favorites Topher Grace and Scarlett Johansson, this comedy-drama and its midlife crisis themes won't interest young moviegoers. Moderate profanity, sexual references, one sensual scene and brief violence.
Meet the Fockers B
(PG-13) _ The sequel to Meet the Parents is even more risque, with loads of jokes about sexual behavior and numerous anatomically correct works of art and invention. Profanity is fairly strong, as is the crude humor.
White Noise C
(PG-13) _ A widower (Michael Keaton) hears his dead wife's voice through a radio, and all kinds of creepy paranormal stuff happens. The MPAA rating is the result of "violence, disturbing images and language," although the effects also put the man's children in peril, which could upset young viewers.