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family filmgoer

Family Filmgoer

Adam Sandler portrays the sister (left) and brother (right) twins of the title in “Jack and Jill.’’ Adam Sandler portrays the sister (left) and brother (right) twins of the title in “Jack and Jill.’’ (Tracy Bennett/Columbia Pictures)
November 13, 2011

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Kids 8 and older

Puss in Boots (90 min., PG) This animated star vehicle for Shrek’s pal Puss in Boots (voice of Antonio Banderas) has much mild innuendo about Puss’s amorous exploits and his not-so-subtly sexual braggadoccio. The action sequences could unsettle kids under 8 or so.

Kids 10 and older

Jack and Jill (91 min., PG) Fine for most kids 10 and older, “Jack and Jill’’ has Adam Sandler playing brother-and-sister twins. The PG rating covers some mildly naughty sexual innuendo that will be missed by most kids. Characters drink a bit, throw some punches, and engage in crazy stunts that should cause injuries, but don’t. There are loud intestinal distress bits, but they’re (thankfully) off camera.

The middle ground

Anonymous (130 min., PG-13) The film argues that Shakespeare was a sub-literate actor who lent his name, for a fee, to the Earl of Oxford, a gifted aristocrat who wanted his plays performed for political and artistic reasons, and his name kept off of them. Protesting citizens are fired upon and killed by guards, and there is a strongly implied beheading. Themes involve incest, infidelity, and out-of-wedlock births. The film includes a couple of steamy sexual situations that venture near R territory.

In Time (109 min., PG-13) In the future, people are born with built-in time codes. After 25 years, they cease to age and their built-in clocks start counting down a final year. Time is literally used as money, for food, rent, or just to stay alive. Gunplay results in little on-screen blood, and when characters “time out,’’ they just sort of lurch backward and crumple. There is implied toplessness, and skinny dipping that shows no nudity.

Like Crazy (89 min., PG-13) A bittersweet trans-Atlantic romance about American Jacob (Anton Yelchin) and British Anna (Felicity Jones). Their passion rarely involves bedroom scenes, and when it does they’re more about cuddling and talking. Only once or twice is real sexual intensity implied, one time with a bit of semi-explicitness. The script includes rare mild profanity.

The Three Musketeers (110 min., PG-13) Despite athletic brawls, sword-fighting, cannon and musket fire, this adaptation of Alexandre Dumas’s tale of 17th-century derring-do shows very little gore. Only once or twice is someone visibly run through. Ladies’ bodices are very low-cut, in keeping with a romanticized view of the era, and the film includes much mild sexual innuendo. The script has occasional mild profanity and barnyard epithets.

Tower Heist (104 min., PG-13) Ben Stiller and Eddie Murphy head a makeshift gang seeking to break into the luxury apartment of Madoff-like mogul Alan Alda. The profanity, sexual slang, and discussion of sex organs are crass enough to push toward an R rating, making the film more appropriate for high schoolers. Some of the stunts, with characters dangling off the side of a Manhattan high-rise, are quite realistic and nerve-wracking. There is a bit of nonlethal gunplay and some drunkenness.


J. Edgar (137 min., R) Leonardo DiCaprio stars as longtime FBI director J. Edgar Hoover. Early in the film, a bombing incident is quite intense, but with no lethal injuries depicted. The script includes occasional strong profanity. Only once does the relationship between Hoover and right-hand man Clyde Tolson (Armie Hammer) explode into a sexually charged confrontation, but that is ultimately repressed. Hoover is shown listening secretly to illicit tapes of Rev. Martin Luther King in an extramarital liaison.

Paranormal Activity 3 (85 min., R) There is very little violence until almost the end of the film, and even then, it is not that graphic for an R. The rating in this case reflects the overall sense of foreboding and the endangerment of two young children. The script includes strong profanity used by adult characters, a steamy but nongraphic sexual situation, and a moment involving marijuana.

The Rum Diary (120 min., R) Johnny Depp plays a talented writer with an unquenchable thirst for booze whose unreliability lands him a job with a seedy English-language newspaper in Puerto Rico, circa 1959. Characters continually drink themselves into an alcoholic haze, and also take psychedelic drugs. There is a great deal of sexual innuendo, but only a couple of sexual situations, one with implied toplessness, but neither of them very explicit.

Take Shelter (120 min., R) This rather mild R is not for most high schoolers. Michael Shannon is a blue-collar oil-rig worker who starts to have terrible nightmares, even while awake, and fears he is becoming ill with paranoid schizophrenia. The script includes occasional strong profanity. The nightmares are vivid and full of foreboding. Shannon’s character takes too many sleeping pills and suffers a seizure.

A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas (90 min., R) The third chapter in the screen adventures of this stoner pair offers steaming profanity, female toplessness, male frontal nudity, sexual language, and graphically implied sexual situations. That’s bad enough. Even worse is the ongoing comic element of a toddler getting high on drugs. The film also contains nonlethal gun violence, fights, and gross toilet humor.

Jane Horwitz, Washington Post Writers Group.

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