Film guide for families

‘The Spy Next Door’

Rating: PG for sequences of action violence and some mild rude humor

What it’s about: Jackie Chan is a spy who baby-sits the neighbor kids while defending the world from an arch villain.

The kid-attractor factor: Martial arts fights and gags, spyware, smart-mouthed kids

Good lessons/bad lessons: “Family isn’t whose blood you carry. It’s who you love and who loves you.”

Violence: Gunplay, comic martial arts brawls

Language: No profanity

Sex: Jackie Chan does a little smooching.

Drugs: None

Parents’ advisory: Jackie Chan is always kid-safe, unless Chris Tucker is in the movie with him.

‘The Lovely Bones’

Rating: PG-13 for mature thematic material involving disturbing violent content and images, and some language

What it’s about: A murdered teen narrates the tale of her death and her family’s life after it.

The kid-attractor factor: It’s about kids, and it’s by fantasy director Peter Jackson (“King Kong” and “Lord of the Rings”).

Good lessons/bad lessons: “You’re not supposed to look back. You’re supposed to go forward.”

Violence: A girl is lured on camera, and murdered off camera.

Language: Some profanity

Sex: Young romance, and the crime itself has a sexual nature

Drugs: Alcohol and cigarettes

Parents’ advisory: Entirely too creepy and intense for very young children, and kids under 12 might be bored by this afterlife thriller and fairy-tale.

‘Youth in Revolt’

Rating: R for sexual content, language and drug use

What it’s about: Wimpy teen grows an alter ego to try and make time with a girl.

The kid-attractor factor: Michael Cera, playing both a pushover and a ladies’ man

Good lessons/bad lessons: If you have to change who you are to win somebody over, she or he isn’t worth it.

Violence: Slapstick stuff, vandalism

Language: Some profanity, more than a little

Sex: Well, that’s the goal.

Drugs: Yes

Parents’ advisory: Pretty far out there to qualify as “good clean fun,” but decent messages make this sometimes off-color romp suitable for anybody 15 and up.

‘Leap Year’

Rating: PG for sensuality and language

What it’s about: A go-getter businesswoman travels to Ireland to use a loophole in “the rules” to propose to her boyfriend on Feb. 29.

The kid-attractor factor: Amy Adams and Matthew Goode

Good lessons/bad lessons: If the guy hasn’t proposed (to Amy Adams, no less) in four years, he’s got issues.

Violence: A fistfight

Language: Pretty mild, and the wee cursing is mostly done with an Irish accent.

Sex: Not really

Drugs: A number of scenes are set in bars.

Parents’ advisory: A bit timid and chaste for a romantic comedy, but certainly family-friendly.


Rating: PG for some mild sensuality, a scene of violence, and brief incidental language and smoking.

What it’s about: A legendary Italian filmmaker flees to a spa to hide from his wife, his mistress and writer’s block. But the women of his life haunt his dreams.

The kid-attractor factor: Singing and swinging, ’60s dancing.

Good lessons/bad lessons: Burn the candle at both ends and you’re going to get scorched

Violence: None

Language: A little profanity

Sex: Bumping and grinding

Drugs: Cigarettes

Parents’ advisory: More challenging than the light musicals that have been recent hits, this one is sure to confuse the 12-and-unders.