By Jane Horwitz
Friday, December 17, 2010; T30
3 and older
Yogi Bear (PG).
The very youngest kids, say ages 3 to 8, may be amused by the slapstick gags in this labored farce. Parents will just have to nap. The film clumsily blends live-action footage, computer animation and 3-D. Ranger Smith is not that impressed that Yogi Bear and his sidekick, Boo Boo, can talk. But when the sleazy mayor decides to close Jellystone to make way for developers, Ranger Smith and the bears join forces, along with a pretty nature documentary filmmaker.
THE BOTTOM LINE: The 3-D aspect and cartoon-type mayhem is not scary. Yogi nearly gets smashed in various ways because of his crazy inventions, but he always recovers quickly. Someone uses the phrase "screwing up," and there is a bit of toilet humor.10 and older
THE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA: THE VOYAGE OF THE DAWN TREADER (PG).
The film is fine for kids 10 and older, but it might be thematically confusing for under-10s. Lucy and Edmund return to Narnia in this 3-D installment. The painting of a ship on the ocean comes to life and floods the room, leaving Lucy, Edmund and cousin Eustace flailing in the high seas of Narnia. King Caspian rescues them, and the adventure begins.
THE BOTTOM LINE: No injuries are shown in the battle scenes. The Dawn Treader encounters scary sea serpents and huge waves. The script includes references to "slave traders" in Narnia, who are portrayed in stereotypically Arab or Persian garb of yore.
TRON: LEGACY (PG)
This sequel to the original "Tron," which may well delight computer game-loving kids 10 and older, is so in love with its visual effects that the human element feels like a leaden afterthought and the action sequences are incredibly loud. Sam Flynn finds a way into his dad's virtual world and tries to bring him back to reality. He must race against "programs" that only look human and avoid his dad's rogue alterego, Clu.
The bottom line: The script contains rare, very mild profanity, sexual innuendo and implied nudity. The action sequences may upset some kids younger than 10 with their sheer intensity and loudness. The plot is convoluted. At least today's kids understand the idea of virtual reality.PG-13
A woman named Elise is in Europe for a clandestine meeting with her estranged lover. He is some sort of financial criminal wanted by another scoundrel. She receives instructions from her lover to get on a train to Venice and latch onto a man and pretend to be "with" him. That clueless fellow is Frank, a shy American teacher on holiday.
THE BOTTOM LINE: The action features relatively bloodless shootouts, fights and boat chases in the canals of Venice. The script includes rare strongish profanity and a gently implied sexual situation.
HOW DO YOU KNOW
It's tough to imagine anyone much under high school age loving this smart but occasionally wayward, emotionally distant and overwritten comedy. George works at his dad Charles's D.C. financial firm. George learns he's to be indicted for fraud. Softball player Lisa learns she won't make her team again. She takes up with Matty. She also meets George, who falls for her. The big question of the title is: How do you know when you're in love? But it also means knowing when to do the right thing.
THE BOTTOM LINE: Lisa and Matty have a live-in relationship, preceded by one-night stands, but sex scenes are only implied. Matty is promiscuous. The script incudes occasional strong profanity and a condom joke.R
THE KING'S SPEECH
Rated R, bizarrely, for a few brief bursts of strong profanity in scenes involving speech therapy, this marvelously acted, richly designed film tells an uplifting fact-based tale. It will surprise and inspire teens who prefer human stories over special effects. Britain's King George VI came to the throne after older brother, King Edward VIII, abdicated to marry his mistress. "Bertie" had a terrible stutter and dreaded public speaking. His wife, Queen Elizabeth, gets her husband to see an eccentric speech therapist. The movie re-creates the unlikely friendship that grows between the royal and therapist.
THE BOTTOM LINE: There are bursts of strong profanity which help the king-to-be overcome his lifelong stutter. The film has some vaguely implied sexual references.
Teens 17 and older who like drama straight from America's mean streets may gravitate toward this true-story tale of blue-collar boxing brothers of Lowell, Mass. Micky Ward wants to get his boxing career back on track. His brother Dicky was also an up-and-coming boxer but was sidelined by a life of crack and petty crime. Micky is pulled every which way after he falls in love with Charlene, who tries to get him out of his family's clutches.
The bottom line: "The Fighter" earns its R with portrayal of drug abuse, drinking, smoking, steaming profanity, a lone sexual situation, graphic boxing scenes and some outside-the-ring non-lethal violence.
firstname.lastname@example.org Horwitz is a freelance reviewer.