Wild Wild West
In a nutshell: In 1869, U.S. agents James West (Will Smith) and Artemus Gordon (Kevin Kline) team up to find out why an evil genius (Kenneth Branagh) is kidnapping scientists.
Will kids want to see it?: You betcha. Even if they’ve never seen the TV series upon which it’s based, Will Smith fans are legion.
Sex/nudity: West and a woman fool around in a tub; prostitutes wear tight corsets; a female backside.
Drugs/alcohol: Drinking in saloons
Violence/scariness: Dozens of deaths by cannons, guns, knives, and tools; a scientist is decapitated.
Objectionable words/phrases: The expletives are mild but numerous; racist slurs; sexual innuendo; many breast jokes.
The verdict: In a movie full of intentional anachronisms, the racist barbs and crass sexual humor still seem out of place.
Appropriate ages: 12 and up
In a nutshell: To impress his girlfriend, overgrown kid Sonny (Adam Sandler) becomes the guardian of a precocious 5-year-old left at his door.
Will kids want to see it?: Yes, the preteens who helped make The Waterboy a hit will be lining up.
Sex/nudity: None, but lots of jokes about Hooters – the restaurant and the body parts
Drugs/alcohol: Some drinking; Sonny’s bar buddy is a slurring drunk.
Violence/scariness: Sonny teaches the kid to trip skaters.
Objectionable words/phrases: Sonny’s mouth should be washed out with soap.
The verdict: At a time when pop culture sorely lacks father figures, Sonny seems a sincere, albeit crude, role model who makes it look cool for guys to take care of kids.
Appropriate ages: 10 and up
In a nutshell: Kyle, Stan, and Cartman try to save their idols, demonized movie stars Terrance and Phillip, from rabid moral guardians and thwart Saddam Hussein and Satan’s plans for world domination.
Will kids want to see it?: Sure. They’ll want to see what Comedy Central can’t show, and it’s been years since the last R-rated ‘toon.
Sex/nudity: Saddam fondles a penis; topless angels; Big Gay Al gets nekkid; a giant talking clitoris.
Violence/scariness: Gory OR high jinks; a visit to hell; Bill Gates gets shot; American troops battle Canadians.
Objectionable words/phrases: Nonstop profanity and sex talk; ethnic slurs; raunchy song lyrics; an anti-God rant
The verdict: While the movie cleverly addresses the hot topic of the media’s influence on children, don’t be surprised if your kids add some new phrases to their vocabulary.
Appropriate ages: 15 and up
The General’s Daughter
In a nutshell: Army investigator Paul Brenner (John Travolta) and rape expert Sarah Sunhill (Madeleine Stowe) are called in to solve the murder of a promiscuous military psychiatrist.
Will kids want to see it?: Doubtful. With its dark subject matter and older stars, this thriller has little kid appeal.
Sex/nudity: A nude woman, both alive and dead; S&M video footage; bare male butts
Drugs/alcohol: Some drinking
Violence/scariness: A brutal gang rape; a man is killed by an outboard motor; another explodes in a minefield.
Objectionable words/phrases: A constant barrage of raw and demeaning language; graphic sexual descriptions
The verdict: The overall unseemly air and lurid focus on rape make this movie off-limits for youngsters.
Appropriate ages: 17 and up
In a nutshell: A young man raised in the jungle by apes must rethink his identity when he meets Jane, a beautiful creature who’s as hairless as he is.
Will kids want to see it?: Yes, it’s Disney’s big summer movie, it’s got that Lion King feel, and the toys are already in every Happy Meal.
Sex/nudity: Nearly naked Tarzan does try to peek up Jane’s dress.
Drugs/alcohol: A man has a glass of wine.
Violence/scariness: A baby ape and Tarzan’s parents are killed off screen; a hunter accidentally hangs himself.
Objectionable words/phrases: None
The verdict: With its hunky hero, lush animation, and celebration of family and the beauty of a simple, natural life, this is a movie kids and parents will go ape over.
Appropriate ages: 5 and up