9 and Older
"Sky High" (PG). Funny, inventive live-action flick deftly blends and spoofs teen dating comedies and superhero movies; Will Stronghold (Michael Angarano), son of world-savers Captain Stronghold (Kurt Russell) and Josie Jetstream (Kelly Preston), enters Sky High, a stratospheric high school for superheroes' kids, with no special powers to distinguish him; he and childhood pal, Layla (Danielle Panabaker), and friends land in lowly sidekick class until a flirtation with the superpowered crowd helps Will focus his strength. Comic book-style mayhem, bullying -- no one gets hurt; characters hurtle through walls, burst into flame, fly, melt, shape-shift, run with blurring speed, stretch to silly lengths, but aren't scary; mild sexual innuendo, toilet humor. Older kids will get more gags.
"Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" (PG). Tim Burton's delicious, edgy fun-house adaptation of Roald Dahl's classic about Charlie Bucket (Freddie Highmore), a boy from a poor family who gets to tour eccentric chocolate magnate Willy Wonka's (Johnny Depp) factory; very grim flashbacks of Wonka as a boy in orthodontic head brace, forbidden sweets by his dour dentist dad (Christopher Lee); bratty kids on the tour get stretched like taffy, swarmed by squirrels, bloated into a huge blueberry -- all survive; kids won't get jokey reference to cannibalism but might not like to see a cow whipped by Wonka's tiny Oompa Loompas (Deep Roy, digitally multiplied) to make whipped cream; Wonka tastes icky green bug goop.
"Must Love Dogs." Diane Lane as newly divorced preschool teacher, forced by her sister (Elizabeth Perkins) into Internet dating; John Cusack as intense, newly divorced boat builder clearly meant for her, in disappointingly arch, stilted romantic comedy. Much strong sexual innuendo, but minus the lewdness of many PG-13s: semi-crude, slangy sex references; implied overnight tryst; tots make unwitting references to "uncles" sleeping over with single moms; Lane's and Cusack's characters drive around desperately seeking condoms; scantily clad women in a club dance suggestively; mild profanity. Not for preteens.
"Stealth." Initially intriguing, but ultimately goofy futuristic action flick about Navy flying aces (Josh Lucas, Jamie Foxx, Jessica Biel -- Sam Shepard as their commanding officer) who bomb terrorist cells in remote areas and now must work with a new, experimental pilotless bomber that goes haywire. Rarely graphic violence includes bombing sequences, aerial dogfights, explosions, gunplay, refugees fleeing; implied gun suicide; mildish sexual innuendo; rare profanity; drinking, smoking; toilet humor.
"Bad News Bears." Billy Bob Thornton has subversive fun as booze-soaked, good-old-boy exterminator and major league baseball has-been coaching a hopeless youth team in droll update of 1976 Walter Matthau classic, bristling with salty PG-13 profanity, scatological slang used by man and kids; he insults ethnicities, abilities, disabilities, buys kids nonalcoholic beer; middling sexual slang; threats to shove things up folks; verbal, visual sexual innuendo; implied tryst between coach and boy's single mom (Marcia Gay Harden); crotch kicks; gags about protective cups for boys, a girl's period; dead rats. Inappropriate for many preteens.
"Wedding Crashers." Overlong but mostly very funny, if lewd, farce stars Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn as best friends whose hobby is to crash weddings as a way to bed pretty women; at a society wedding hosted by a cabinet secretary (Christopher Walken), Wilson's character falls for bride's sister (Rachel McAdams) while Vaughn's becomes the sexual obsession of another sibling (Isla Fisher). Constant profanity; crude verbal, visual sexual references; toplessness, rear nudity; semiexplicit sexual situations; homophobic slurs; drinking; gunfire; a few gut punches. Wildly inappropriate for under-17s.