DRIVE ME CRAZY (PG-13, 91 minutes)
High school kids win and lose at the dating game in this ever-so-slightly offbeat romantic comedy, which gets more interesting as it goes and may ring truer to teen audiences than most such films. The rating covers mildly steamy kissing scenes, verbal sexual innuendo, occasional profanity, and teen characters drinking, smoking, spiking the punch and stashing a bag of marijuana. A subplot refers to broken homes and absent or deceased parents. "Drive Me Crazy" isn't quite appropriate for preteens. In this case, the PG-13 rings true.
Based on a novel for young people ("How I Created My Perfect Prom Date") by Todd Strasser, "Drive Me Crazy" follows the misadventures of Nicole (Melissa Joan Hart of "Sabrina, the Teenage Witch" on TV), perky organizer of her school's centennial dance. When the jock she fancies doesn't invite her to the event, she asks her anti-establishment next-door neighbor (Adrian Grenier). At first, it's just a scam for the two of them to show up the people who've dissed them. They wander through a maze of misunderstandings before discovering they're made for each other.
THREE KINGS (R, 111 minutes)
"Three Kings" is a wildly unusual action-adventure film, until it goes conventional at the end. For older high-schoolers (it's too violent and profane for younger teens, though they may try to see it) it may be the first movie that gives them an idea how those in the Third World view American power. Director David O. Russell uses graphic violence to shattering effect, slowing down the gunplay, even showing bullets traveling inside a man's gut. A mother is executed in front of her child, and there are scenes of torture. There's also standard-issue profanity.
Set in Iraq at the end of the Gulf War, "Three Kings" follows a quartet of renegade American soldiers on their way to steal Saddam Hussein's looted Kuwaiti gold. But the tough-as-nails captain (George Clooney) and his cohorts (Ice Cube, Mark Wahlberg and Spike Jonze) can't avoid helping villagers caught in the crossfire between anti-Saddam rebels and Iraq's Republican Guard. These Americans learn about Iraq after the war.
MYSTERY, ALASKA (R, 119 minutes)
A sports movie and small-town comedy combined, "Mystery Alaska" knocks cinematic cliches sideways to become a refreshing -- and bawdy -- adult comedy. It's appropriate only for older teens, though its goodheartedness tends to de-fang the R-rated ingredients and highlight its positive lessons in life and sportsmanship. The script contains explicit and adulterous sexual situations, a lot of sexual innuendo, profanity, and characters who smoke, drink, and occasionally slug one another.
The fictional one-horse town of Mystery, Alaska, has the best pond hockey team going -- with the local sheriff (Russell Crowe) among its obsessive star players. A former hometown boy who made good as a sportswriter (Hank Azaria) publishes an article about the team in "Sports Illustrated." He arranges for the New York Rangers to come up and play the Mystery men as a publicity stunt, with all the upheaval that entails.
Six and Older
"Dudley Do-Right" (PG). Brendan Fraser as the dim Canadian Mountie in painfully arch live-action comedy based popular TV 'toon; slapstick may please tots. Final battle too violent; some crude language.
"Jakob the Liar." Robin Williams as lonely widower in Jewish ghetto in WW II Poland, makes up war news to raise hopes in touching, unsentimental oft funny fable. Bodies of Jews hanged, others starved, suicide; Nazis hold Jakob under water, beat him; smoking.
"For Love of the Game." Kevin Costner as pitcher aiming for perfect game before retirement, faces loss of girlfriend, career, in long, sudsy sports saga. Implied affairs; drinking, smoking; talk of teen pregnancy.
"Blue Streak." Martin Lawrence in amusing caper comedy as thief who impersonates cop. Non-gory shootings; profanity, crude language; hygiene gag; maniacal driving; chain smoking, implication that crime pays.
"The Sixth Sense." Bruce Willis as psychologist helps boy tormented by ghosts in subtle, slow thriller that builds to fab ending. Off-camera suicide; ghosts show wounds from violent deaths, even hanging; rare crude language; drinking.
"Plunkett & Macleane" Irreverent fact-based account of 18th-century English highway robbers; opulent period settings intercut with modernisms in confusing, pretentious music video style. Graphic violence, hangings; explicit sexual situations, rape; profanity; squalor, prostitution. Oldest high-schoolers.
"Dog Park" Janeane Garofalo, Luke Wilson play two among a group of twentysomethings in light, aimless comedy about agonies of dating; walking pooches in the park is their only sure thing. Comically explicit sexual situations; profanity; drinking, smoking. High-schoolers.
"Double Jeopardy." Ashley Judd as woman out to get spouse who framed her for murder, Tommy Lee Jones as her parole officer in slick, implausible thriller. Explicit sexual situation; gunplay; strong profanity; smoking, drinking. Claustrophobics: Judd briefly locked in coffin. High-schoolers.
"American Beauty." Kevin Spacey, Annette Bening in exquisite, cynical, yet spiritual comic tale of suburban family implosion. Graphic sexual situations include masturbation; non-explicit sexual fantasies of man about teen girl; semi-nudity; marijuana; father beats up son; shooting death; profanity. Mature high-schoolers.
"Mumford." Psychotherapist in small town treats eccentric folks, harbors secret himself in gentle, lethargic comedy. Female nudity in fantasy sequences; strong sexual innuendo; profanity; marijuana, drinking, smoking. High-schoolers.