6 and Older
"Shrek 2" (PG). Riotous computer-animated sequel preaches acceptance of others, skewers popular culture and fairy tales, as honeymooners Shrek (voice of Mike Myers) and Fiona (Cameron Diaz) go to see her royal parents (John Cleese and Julie Andrews), who are shocked to see Fiona has chosen to marry Shrek and become a full-time ogress; wicked Fairy Godmum (Jennifer Saunders) wants Fiona for her son, Prince Charming (Rupert Everett); and Fiona's father sends Puss in Boots (Antonio Banderas) to kill Shrek. Semi-lewd jokes -- Pinocchio in ladies' underwear, cat licking himself -- go over kids heads; mild sexual innuendo, references to "lust"; hairball gag; preschoolers might worry as Godmother's goons chase protagonists.
10 and Older
"New York Minute" (PG). Bankable, perennially perky twins Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen in trifling feature as sibs who resolve differences during Manhattan misadventure. Giggly sexual innuendo iffy for under-10s, with twins in bath towel and robe around cute guys; implied nudity; toilet humor; racial stereotypes; dog put in comic peril; scary snake; fight; car chase; theme about loss of parent.
"The Day After Tomorrow." Dennis Quaid in ripsnorting disaster flick as climatologist whose global warming predictions come true suddenly, with monster storms followed by an ice age; he tries to reach his son (Jake Gyllenhaal), holed up in New York Public Library; good acting, ironic humor make up for many dumb bits. Intense tornadoes, tidal waves; frozen corpses; rare profanity; brief make-out scene with partially unbuttoned shirts; milder sexual innuendo; wounds with hints of blood; fake-looking wolves attack, get clobbered, none of it graphic; self-sacrificing suicide; dying child in hospital. Too intense for some preteens.
"Raising Helen." Kate Hudson in often-diverting but cliched, uneven comedy as New York modeling agency hotshot whose ultra-chic lifestyle changes after she becomes guardian to oldest sister's kids (Hayden Panettiere, Spencer Breslin, Abigail Breslin) after a tragedy; Joan Cusack as busybody middle sister; John Corbett as minister who falls for her -- little chemistry in their scenes. Gentle hints of sexual situations between adults; implied teen experimentation with sex; teen drinking, smoking; adults smoke; mild profanity; themes of loss, grief.
"Troy." Brad Pitt looks fine but lacks grandiosity as Greek warrior Achilles in occasionally thrilling, but over-long, unpoetic conflation of "Iliad," "Odyssey" and "Aeneid" in epic that makes Greek landing at Troy rival D-Day; Peter O'Toole as Troy's King Priam, Orlando Bloom as his lustful son Paris, Eric Bana as warrior son Hector. Battles show impalings but little gore; Achilles drags body of Hector for all to see; understated sexual situations -- implied nudity; girl threatened with hot poker; mild verbal sexual innuendo. High schoolers into myth.