By EW Staff
August 09, 2002 at 04:00 AM EDT

MOVIE TITLE/RATING

THE MASTER OF DISGUISE/PG

IN A NUTSHELL Bumbling man-child Dana Carvey discovers his life’s calling after his father is kidnapped by an evil mastermind: He becomes a sleuth with 36 identities.

WILL KIDS WANT TO SEE IT? Yes, but Carvey’s been AWOL so long that young ones may not know his SNL impressions.

SEX/NUDITY None

DRUGS/ALCOHOL None

VIOLENCE/SCARINESS Only of the cartoonish, face-slappin’ Three Stooges variety.

OBJECTIONABLE WORDS/PHRASES/STEREOTYPES Carvey disguises himself as poo; fart jokes; ethnicities broadly imitated.

THE VERDICT Kids will respond to Carvey’s ”Turtle Guy” and parents will be happy to see references to films like Jaws and Scarface.

APPROPRIATE AGES 7 and up

[MOVIE TITLE/RATING] AUSTIN POWERS IN GOLDMEMBER/PG-13

[IN A NUTSHELL] The groovy international spy (Mike Myers) thwarts a ’70s villain with the help of a foxy sidekick (Beyonce Knowles) and works out issues with his swingin’ superspy father (Michael Caine).

[WILL KIDS WANT TO SEE IT?] Yes. After three installments, even first graders know how to say ”Oh, behave.”

[SEX/NUDITY] Implied in very raunchy visual jokes and shadow play suggesting an erect member.

[DRUGS/ALCOHOL] One very prominently placed Heineken bottle.

[VIOLENCE/SCARINESS] Mini-Me (Verne Troyer) is kicked around and tortured by Dr. Evil’s son (Seth Green).

[OBJECTIONABLE WORDS/PHRASES/STEREOTYPES] Every word out of Fat Bastard’s mouth? Every sex joke? That’s the point, baby.

[THE VERDICT] As raunchy, potty-obsessed, and coarsely funny as you would expect from such an artiste of excess as Mike Myers.

[APPROPRIATE AGES] 13 and up

[MOVIE TITLE/RATING] XXX/PG-13

[IN A NUTSHELL] Vin Diesel plays an X-treme rebel enlisted by the government to infiltrate a foreign terrorist group.

[WILL KIDS WANT TO SEE IT?] For fans of the X Games this looks like Tony Hawk crossed with James Bond.

[SEX/NUDITY] Kissing and some suggestive moments between Diesel and Asia Argento; a scantily-clad, writhing seductress.

[DRUGS/ALCOHOL] Wild partying at a Prague nightclub; scenes at a Central American cocaine operation.

[VIOLENCE/SCARINESS] Lots of explosions and operatic gunplay.

[OBJECTIONABLE WORDS/PHRASES/STEREOTYPES] The standard expletives, plus women referred to as ”bitches.”

[THE VERDICT] The violence and sexuality here are on a par with the typical James Bond film, minus the 007 polish.

[APPROPRIATE AGES] 13 and up

[MOVIE TITLE/RATING] SIGNS/PG-13

[IN A NUTSHELL] Will Chariots of the Gods turn into The War of the Worlds? Mel Gibson tries to decipher the mysterious messages being carved into his cornfields. (See review on page 43)

[WILL KIDS WANT TO SEE IT?] Older kids may be drawn to the promise of this summer’s August spine tingler.

[SEX/NUDITY] None

[DRUGS/ALCOHOL] Joaquin Phoenix tips back a tall-neck or two.

[VIOLENCE/SCARINESS] An alien digit is amputated; a mom’s grisly death; a child’s graphic asthma attack.

[OBJECTIONABLE WORDS/PHRASES/STEREOTYPES] A few fairly mild expletives.

[THE VERDICT] This will give older kids shivers but may give younger ones some serious nightmares.

[APPROPRIATE AGES] 13 and up

[MOVIE TITLE/RATING] SPY KIDS 2/PG

[IN A NUTSHELL] The technosavvy siblings (Alexa Vega and Daryl Sabara) go on a super-secret mission to a strange island, meet a shy, mad scientist (Steve Buscemi), and save the world — no sweat.

[WILL KIDS WANT TO SEE IT?] Following the success and surprise delights of last year’s original Spy Kids — you bet.

[SEX/NUDITY] None

[DRUGS/ALCOHOL] Spiked drinks briefly knock out every adult at a fancy dinner.

[VIOLENCE/SCARINESS] Computer-animated animals fight; so do computer-animated human skeletons.

[OBJECTIONABLE WORDS/PHRASES/STEREOTYPES] One Spy Kid says a cheeky variation on the phrase full of s — -.

[THE VERDICT] Inventive, good-natured spy fun for kids and adults; the antidote to the midget-and-mojo titters of Austin Powers.

[APPROPRIATE AGES] 7 and up

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