Parental Guidance

Parental Guidance: The DUFF, McFarland USA and more on DVD

We give you what you need to know about the family-friendliness of this week's new releases.

by | February 20, 2015 | Comments

In Theaters This Week:



Rating: PG-13, for crude and sexual material throughout, some language and teen partying.

This high school romantic comedy, which challenges the notions of cliques, hierarchies and labels, is based on Kody Keplinger’s YA novel of the same name. So the material may be familiar to many young viewers, but even if you or your kids haven’t read the book, you’ll all recognize the settings and social challenges. Mae Whitman stars as Bianca, a smart, funny high school senior who learns she’s the DUFF — or Designated Ugly Fat Friend — to her two gorgeous and leggy best pals. As she works to rehabilitate her image, she must navigate the school’s mean girl, the emo boy she has a crush on and her lifelong next-door neighbor and friend, who happens to be the school’s hunky football captain. There’s a lot of frank talk about kissing and sex, much of which exists in an embarrassing video of Bianca that goes viral. Bianca also imagines herself in hot-and-heavy makeout sessions in a couple of dream sequences. But the film’s message of self-acceptance is extremely worthwhile. OK for tweens and up.

McFarland, USA


Rating: PG, for thematic material, some violence and language.

This inspiring Disney film is based on the true story of an underdog, high school cross-country team composed of Latino farm workers’ kids in California’s Central Valley. These are students from struggling families who have toiled in the fields, and while they instinctively know how to run, they don’t know much about training or strategy. Kevin Costner plays their coach, who’s determined to put together a team and prove that his athletes are worthy of competing in a state championship. There are some mature moments and themes regarding socioeconomic disparity, as well as some fistfights, a knife fight and a possible suicide attempt. And yes, given the subject matter, the film itself follows a pretty predictable formula. But the underlying messages of teamwork, dedication and finding home and family are worthwhile. This is probably fine for most ages.

New On DVD:

The Theory of Everything


Rating: PG-13, for some thematic elements and suggestive material.

Eddie Redmayne delivers a powerful, transformative performance in this multiple Oscar nominee about renowned astrophysicist Stephen Hawking. Admittedly, given the subject matter, it might be a tough sell for your kids. But if the older and more ambitious ones are interested — especially ones who are into science — there’s little here that would be inappropriate for them. Redmayne portrays Hawking from his early days at 1960s Cambridge, where he meets his wife, Jane (Felicity Jones), through his stunning diagnosis of motor-neuron disease and his intellectual triumph over the gradual physical deterioration that leaves him in a wheelchair, unable to speak. As his condition weakens, their marriage evolves, with each having an affair on the side with the other’s tacit approval. At one point, Hawking’s therapist leafs through a Penthouse magazine for his enjoyment. And there’s a bit of joking about the fact that Hawking was able to produce three children with his wife, despite suffering from a disease that renders him unable to move much. Suitable for older tweens and up.

Dumb and Dumber To


Rating: PG-13, for crude and sexual humor, partial nudity, language and some drug references.

Fart jokes and urine jokes. Jokes about genitalia — those of our idiotic heroes and an unsuspecting old lady in a nursing home. Jokes about people of various ethnicities, sexual orientations and physical disabilities. If it’s raunchy and (allegedly) shocking, it’s in here. After all, this is a Farrelly brothers movie — and a sequel to a hugely popular Farrelly brothers movie, at that. Jeff Daniels and Jim Carrey return to the roles of Harry and Lloyd, respectively, which they played in 1994’s Dumb and Dumber. This time, they reunite for a road trip in hopes of tracking down the daughter Harry never knew he had, and hopefully finding a spare kidney along the way. They bumble and stumble from one ridiculous situation to the next and offend everyone they come across — all in the name of (alleged) satire. The crude physical comedy, which is the Farrellys’ raison d’etre, makes much more sense to me now that I have a 5-year-old son. Still, the material here is probably best suited for older tweens and up.

St. Vincent


Rating: PG-13, for thematic material including sexual content, alcohol and tobacco use, and for language.

Sophisticated tweens and older will probably be OK with this rather mature comedy about a misanthropic alcoholic and the boy next door who becomes his inadvertent project. Bill Murray is back in reliable curmudgeon mode as Vincent, who smokes and drinks his way through his days in a shabby Brooklyn home. But his comfortable, anti-social routine is disrupted when a single mom (Melissa McCarthy) and her shy, bullied son (Jaeden Lieberher) move in next door and Vincent ends up functioning as de facto babysitter. Despite its ultimate feel-good themes, there’s some grown-up stuff here. Vincent has an ongoing fling with a pregnant, Russian stripper (Naomi Watts) and he takes the kid to a dive bar and the racetrack. There’s also a subplot involving an elderly woman who’s in a nursing home with Alzheimer’s. And as the kid gains confidence, he punches out one of the classmates who had tormented him. So hey — there’s some uplift after all.

Tag Cloud

Action crime Mystery Nat Geo Comics on TV Countdown Star Wars TCM Kids & Family spinoff talk show dramedy tv talk Women's History Month Character Guide Epix Adult Swim hist Pet Sematary movies TIFF Song of Ice and Fire politics GLAAD ghosts Tomatazos CBS cops 20th Century Fox Rocky DC Comics PBS Columbia Pictures ESPN composers Emmys Marathons Rock X-Men Superheroes 2017 kids ABC Trailer series AMC USA police drama MTV cinemax Musicals TLC Heroines WGN Brie Larson A&E Star Trek USA Network adventure HBO Cartoon Network Comic Book Masterpiece Tumblr unscripted Best and Worst FX travel binge zombie TNT LGBTQ 2015 Binge Guide Warner Bros. sports crossover 2018 docudrama FOX E3 GIFs Superheroe zombies singing competition LGBT Paramount DGA OWN SDCC VH1 Britbox zero dark thirty historical drama TCA Acorn TV Extras Fall TV green book true crime Sundance Now blaxploitation Amazon Prime sequel witnail toy story APB anthology Stephen King Calendar sitcom anime strong female leads revenge YouTube Premium Awards San Diego Comic-Con TV Film Rocketman elevated horror Apple PaleyFest cooking Infographic 007 Film Festival Bravo dragons Vudu Thanksgiving game show Premiere Dates 45 YA Hulu Polls and Games President animated Pop biography richard e. Grant Podcast Disney streaming service Creative Arts Emmys Paramount Network Lionsgate justice league comic science fiction HBO Max Mary Tyler Moore what to watch SXSW boxoffice Disney psycho Amazon Prime Video crime drama CMT Biopics Showtime Christmas thriller Year in Review 2019 CNN romance political drama The Arrangement natural history Tarantino Ovation SundanceTV GoT DirecTV Logo Lifetime Quiz award winner theme song Shudder Oscars Mary Poppins Returns harry potter BBC festivals children's TV stand-up comedy miniseries finale Writers Guild of America Horror medical drama WarnerMedia Western The Witch Food Network technology aliens Election Family psychological thriller Mary poppins TruTV Ghostbusters Set visit book Grammys Reality Competition Drama Trophy Talk Nominations Photos NYCC Comedy Central Reality Black Mirror social media El Rey streaming Starz Elton John YouTube Red MCU Winter TV robots Amazon Pirates FXX Animation History Emmy Nominations Walt Disney Pictures Lucasfilm E! dc serial killer Martial Arts Sneak Peek Country adaptation Red Carpet BET war Captain marvel Comedy Chilling Adventures of Sabrina mutant Spectrum Originals TV Land spider-man Dark Horse Comics Toys nature DC Universe transformers Crackle IFC Films Musical Pride Month space Summer cats jamie lee curtis Netflix mockumentary Sundance vampires Spike Trivia First Look diversity facebook Shondaland Anna Paquin Interview Mindy Kaling period drama spy thriller comiccon Watching Series television See It Skip It CW Seed cars Schedule Video Games teaser Syfy NBC Awards Tour Ellie Kemper Valentine's Day golden globes Opinion Rom-Com Sci-Fi MSNBC Certified Fresh Fantasy disaster VICE doctor who DC streaming service Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Sony Pictures crime thriller ABC Family CBS All Access BBC America Universal Spring TV Fox News Nickelodeon RT History 2016 24 frames IFC dceu Music Super Bowl quibi based on movie Chernobyl Pixar ratings Disney Channel Marvel RT21 Freeform supernatural discovery The CW Winners Box Office Holidays TCA 2017 Cosplay Mudbound American Society of Cinematographers cults TBS New York Comic Con Cannes casting Teen Esquire ITV 21st Century Fox National Geographic