This week’s guide to current cinematic releases and their appropriateness for children under the age of 17.
The Match Game
In this wacky romantic comedy from the producers of Saw III, husband and wife Max and Katie Scrimshaw (Philip Seymour Hoffman and Alicia Silverstone) spice up their lives by betting on which one of them can get engaged to someone else first, using only an online dating service to find potential fiancés. The stakes rise sharply when the dating service sets Max up with—you guessed it—his own grandma (Jerry Stiller).
Rated PG for mild drug use; off-color joke about Hillary Clinton; frequent sneezing without covering mouth/nose with hand; some minor traffic violations; irritating, extended, seemingly never-ending scene involving grandma’s bristly ass.
Ferris Bueller’s Year on Parole
Everyone’s favorite troublemaking charmer is back in this long-awaited sequel to John Hughes’s 1986 classic. Bueller’s luck has turned, as the new century finds him mostly bald, forty pounds heavier, and working odd jobs for cash in Chicago’s quirky Ukrainian Village neighborhood. After spending six months in the can for trying to bribe a police officer with a stolen crate of pierogies, Bueller (Paul Giamatti) struggles to stay on the straight and narrow, which is no easy feat since his longtime girlfriend and lady of the night Sloane (Hillary Swank) has just learned she has full-blown tuberculosis. Todd Solondz directs.
Rated R for graphic masturbation; crack smoking; blood-spitting; and frequent audience-directed monologues that turn increasingly angry, vulgar, and frightening.
No End in Sight
M. Night Shyamalan’s new offering takes viewers into a dystopian future where Earth is ruled by a tyrant known only as L-16 (Steve Guttenberg). With time running out before the human race is enslaved by emotionless pink robots, ex-advertising executives and unlikely lovers Sylvia McGillion (Calista Flockhart) and Dusty Tetrault (Philip Seymour Hoffman) must find the stone tablet that is the key to L-16’s incredible power. Perhaps surprisingly, the end of the movie brings none of Shyamalan’s signature surprises … Or does it?
Rated R for deeply disturbing surprise ending.
My Sperm-Donor Half-Brother
Twentysomething investment banker Danny Dalton (Seth Rogen) has the perfect life—a great job, a beautiful girlfriend (Shakira), a successful fantasy football team … until he receives a visit from Billy, a middle-aged dork (Adam Sandler) who claims he is Danny’s half-brother. When Danny’s quirky father (played to hilarious perfection by Ed Begley Jr.) confirms that he did donate some sperm in the 80s, during his “cocaine phase,” Danny lets Billy stay on his living room couch, with hilarious results!
Rated R for scenes involving light petting; accidental murder of small pet; “couch-pooping”; serious themes raised by scene about late-stage head and neck cancer; slight profanity.
Wonder Twin Powers ACTIVATE!
In this live-action superhero pic, twins Zan and Jayna from the planet Exxor (here portrayed by Miley Cyrus and Philip Seymour Hoffman) must battle evil space villain Grax (Tony Danza) while also struggling to repair the deepening rift between Aquaman (that guy who played the creepy landlord on CBS’s Becker) and Wonder Woman (Liz Phair). Havoc ensues when the twins’ monkey Gleek (Matt Lauer) is captured by the Penguin (Roger Clemens). Can the twins save their treasured pet by transforming themselves into a unicorn and a test tube of chilled water? You’ll have to watch and find out!
Rated PG for sad scene involving death of small monkey.
The new documentary from Hubert Sauper (Darwin’s Nightmare) shines a blistering light on the conflict in Sudan in this heartbreaking documentary about the horrors of Darfur. From the disease-ridden refugee camps in Chad to the training grounds of the Janjaweed militia group to the boardrooms of corporate America, Sauper gives us the most powerful, unblinking look to date of this global tragedy.
Rated R for reminding us of our collective failures as human beings; implication that we must live in godless meaningless hellhole of a universe; mild sexual innuendo; some eating of spiders.
See also: “Family Film Guide,” by Jay Wexler, March, 2004.