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Parents' Guide

Kids Special Addition

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With kid flicks blooming, taking even little tykes to the movies is a breeze. While young ‘uns can catch characters shaking a leg (Cats Don’t Dance) or kicking one (Power Rangers), older children can pick from true stories (Selena) and ghost stories (The Sixth Man). Odds are, though, they’ll all want to hang out with the kidder who’s never been a shrinking violet, Jim Carrey (Liar Liar).

Movies

B.A.P.S What It’s About: Wannabe beauticians Nisi (Halle Berry) and Mickey (Natalie Desselle) get the ultimate makeover when they trade their hood for a Beverly Hills mansion and become Black American Princesses. Will Kids Want to Watch It? Yes, these girls’ good intentions are as big as their hair. MPAA: PG-13. Sex/Nudity: None. Drugs/Alcohol: Cocktails. Violence/Scariness: Nisi and Mickey’s benefactor, Mr. Blakemore (Martin Landau), is hospitalized with cancer. Objectionable Words/Phrases: About 20. Lesson to Extract: You can’t have heart without soul. Appropriate Ages: 12 and up.

Cats Don’t Dance What It’s About: Fresh off the bus, small-town cat Danny (voice of Scott Bakula) tries taking Hollywood by storm but finds his ambitions thwarted by studio bigwigs and vain starlets who don’t believe animals belong in the spotlight. Will Kids Want to Watch It? Yes, they’ll love the animated menagerie (which includes Kathy Najimy voicing Tilly the hippo), as well as the Randy Newman score. MPAA: G. Sex/Nudity: None. Drugs/Alcohol: None. Violence/Scariness: None. Objectionable Words/Phrases: A bus driver says ”jeez.” Lesson to Extract: Cats are ”people” too. Appropriate Ages: 4 and up.

The Devil’s Own What It’s About: There’s hell to pay when one of New York’s finest, police officer Tom O’Meara (Harrison Ford), learns that his new friend and houseguest, Rory (Brad Pitt), is actually Frankie McGuire, a dangerous IRA operative. Will Kids Want to Watch It? While Pitt’s heartthrob cred will have older kids chomping at the bit for tickets, this tale of exported Irish terror is inappropriate for young ones. They’re better off catching Pitt’s costar Ford in one of his three Solo performances playing elsewhere. MPAA: R. Sex/Nudity: None. Drugs/Alcohol: Pints aplenty. Violence/Scariness: A young Frankie witnesses the fatal shooting of his father; Tom’s wife is held at gunpoint; Tom, his partner (Ruben Blades), and Frankie are all shot; Frankie’s friend is tied up and locked in a car trunk; a severed head is thrown at Frankie. Objectionable Words/Phrases: About 60. Lesson to Extract: You can’t fight fire with fire. Appropriate Ages: 17 and up.

Inventing the Abbotts What It’s About: The hot-and-bothered Holt brothers, predatory Jacey (Billy Crudup) and sensitive Doug (Joaquin Phoenix), worship the wealthy Abbott sisters from afar — Pam (Liv Tyler), Eleanor (Jennifer Connelly), and Alice (Joanna Going) — and on closer inspection learn their families have more in common than they thought. Will Kids Want to Watch It? Despite all the heavy breathing from the movie’s bevy of young stars, this adaptation of the Sue Miller short story about love on the wrong side of the tracks won’t generate enough dramatic steam to keep teens interested. MPAA: R. Sex/Nudity: Eleanor exposes her breasts having sex with Jacey; Jacey’s bare butt is visible during sex with another girl. Drugs/Alcohol: Polite tippling chez Abbott; the brothers sneak a couple of beers; Pam gets drunk; Doug and his mom (Kathy Baker) have a heart-to-heart over beers. Violence/ Scariness: A main character dies. Objectionable Words/Phrases: About 60. Lesson to Extract: Appearances can be deceiving. Appropriate Ages: 17 and up.