Parental Guidance

Parental Guidance: The Smurfs 2 and Europa Report

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

by | August 2, 2013 | Comments

In Theaters This Week:

The Smurfs 2


Rating: PG, for some rude humor and action.

It would be perfectly appropriate for you to take kids of all ages to this blue-tinted, live-action extravaganza. Beyond the random fart joke, not much happens that seems terribly deserving of a PG rating. But if you truly love them, why would you take them to see this? It’s flat, humorless, repetitive and jam-packed with cringe-inducing Smurf puns. The plot briefly places a few of the Smurfs in peril, as the villainous Gargamel (a straining Hank Azaria) kidnaps Smurfette (voiced by Katy Perry) to extract her essence and use it to turn unsuspecting fools into his disciples. The humor is slapsticky and sometimes gross but without much inspiration or finesse. My 3 ½-year-old son, who’s been to a lot of movies in his young life, said this is the worst one he’s seen yet. And he’s seen The Oogieloves.

Europa Report


Rating: PG-13, for sci-fi action and peril.

This stripped-down mash-up of found-footage faux documentary and quiet, sci-fi meditation has the traditional structure of a horror flick, with characters being picked off one by one by the dangers that lurk out in the dark, vast beyond. It’s a fictional story inspired by a real-life breakthrough finding, with six of the world’s brightest astronauts traveling to Jupiter’s moon Europa to confirm the existence of water and — more importantly — ocean life. About nine months into their journey, they lose contact with Earth — and that’s when things start getting scary. But the perilous situations they find themselves in are tense without being graphic, and the way people perish is never gory. Europa Report is totally suitable — and very much recommended — for older kids with a curiosity about science.

New On DVD:

G.I. Joe: Retaliation


Rating: PG-13, for combat violence and martial arts action throughout, and for brief sensuality and language.

It’s a big, dumb action movie that knows it’s a big, dumb action movie — which, in theory, makes this sequel preferable in some ways to big, dumb action movies that are under that delusion that they’re serious art. This is an astonishingly violent PG-13 movie. There’s an insane amount of gunfire, much of which comes courtesy of Bruce Willis as a retired Joe who cheerily shares the arsenal he’s hidden in his quiet, suburban home. But none of the casualties from all this sophisticated weaponry results in any blood. This being a big-studio blockbuster based on a toy, nothing really matters — even he obliteration of a major world city with the touch of a button.

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