Alameda Times-Star Online - Bay Area Living
The Alameda Times-Star Online
  Advertise | Subscribe | Contact Us 


Not-too-grisly 'Brother Bear' OK for all family members
Not-too-grisly 'Brother Bear'
By Steve Persall

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.

Films are categorized as "recommended for family viewing," "recommended for family viewing with reservations" and "not recommended for family viewing," with a description of content that led to that categorization.


"Brother Bear" (G) -- Disney's new animated adventure is "Lion King" lite, a wilderness yarn about an American Indian (voice of Joaquin Phoenix) mystically transformed into his enemy, a bear. That paves the way for solid lessons in tolerance and understanding of others from different cultures. Other mature themes include the deaths of family members. A bit of crude humor doesn't prevent this from being good family entertainment.


"Good Boy!" (PG) -- Kid-friendly films are in short supply these days, so the story of a talking dog from another planet will probably get more business than it deserves. The MPAA rating is due to occasionally crude humor, paper-training stuff.

"Radio" (PG) -- Cuba Gooding Jr. stars in an inspiring fact-based tale of a mentally challenged man taken under the wing of a high school football coach (Ed Harris). Mild profanity and a few mature themes of acceptance don't prevent this from being fine family entertainment.

"Secondhand Lions" (PG) -- The coming-of-age tale of a boy (Haley Joel Osment) and his ornery great-uncles (Robert Duvall, Michael Caine) is good, old-fashioned family entertainment. A few mature themes (a negligent parent, mortality, a hint of child endangerment) are handled with taste. Mildly crude remarks, plus a funny brawl, gunplay and flashbacks to French Foreign Legion action containing subdued violence. All of this is secondary to the good feelings left by the conclusion.

"Titanica" (Not rated, probably G) -- The sunken remains of Titanic are explored with IMAX-sized detail in this 1995 documentary. Maybe too deep for viewers younger than 6.


with reservations

"The Fighting Temptations" (PG-13) -- Cuba Gooding Jr. and Beyonc Knowles co-star in a comedy about raising the roof with gospel music. Some singers have shady pasts, however, leading to sexual content and boozing that might make a preacher blush.

"The Rundown" (PG-13) -- Pro wrestling superstar The Rock is a popular action hero for young viewers. The Indiana Jones-style violence in his new movie shouldn't harm children accustomed to World Wrestling Entertainment matches on television and video games. Seann William Scott brings a bit of crudity from the "American Pie" trilogy.

"School of Rock" (PG-13) -- Jack Black's raucous brand of comedy normally isn't kids' stuff, but it gets toned down a bit for him to play a rock musician posing as a prep school substitute teacher. Some crude humor and drug references fit his character's rock'n' roll spirit but not the entertainment standards of some parents.

Not recommended

"Intolerable Cruelty" (PG-13) -- Divorce played for laughs isn't intended for small children. George Clooney plays a divorce lawyer falling in love with the wife (Catherine Zeta-Jones) of a man he represents. Adulterous themes and battle of the sexes humor, coupled with sexual situations, profanity and brief violence, make this a dubious choice for young viewers.

"Matchstick Men" (PG-13) -- A father (Nicolas Cage) teaches his teenage daughter (Alison Lohman) how to run a big-bucks con. The MPAA rating results from thematic elements that make heroes of criminals plus some violence, sexual content and profanity.

"Out of Time" (PG-13) -- Denzel Washington stars as a Florida police chief framed for murder. The film was originally rated R before some material was trimmed. There's still enough sexual content, violence and profanity for the MPAA to note in its rating change decision.

"Runaway Jury" (PG-13) -- John Grisham's tale of a tampered jury is fine adult fare but not for children. The case involves a mass murder (dramatized with discretion) and the legal and moral issues at hand won't hold the attention of young viewers. Moderate profanity.

"Scary Movie 3" (PG-13) -- The first two films in this movie spoof franchise were rated R. Now a new director, David Zucker ("Airplane!"), has pared things down to PG-13 level, but there's still plenty of crude and sexual humor, drug references, profanity and comical violence to concern parents.

"Under the Tuscan Sun" (PG-13) -- Probably not much childish interest in the story of a middle-aged woman's emotional and romantic rebirth while on holiday in Italy. The occasional profanity and sexual situations are tame by PG-13 standards, but this is a film for grownups.



Subscribe Now!
Subscribe to the Alameda Times-Star today!

Visit sites within the ANG Newspapers network: home
The Oakland Tribune | Alameda Times-Star | The Argus | The Daily Review | Marin Independent Journal
San Mateo County Times | Tri-Valley Herald | Vallejo Times-Herald | Milpitas Post | Pacifica Tribune

CareerSite | Real Estate | Classifieds | Automotive | Travel | Community | Shop

About ANG Newspapers | Privacy Policy/Terms of Use | Job Opportunities | Contact Us

1999-2003 by MediaNews Group, Inc. and ANG Newspapers