Parental Guidance

How Family-Friendly Are Jack Reacher: Never Go Back, Ouija: Origin of Evil, and Keeping Up with the Joneses?

by | October 21, 2016 | Comments

All of the big wide releases this week are rated PG-13, but they include an action-packed shoot-em-up, a creepy horror flick, and a ridiculous comedy, so the rating may be deceptive. Read on to see how family-friendly they are.



Jack Reacher: Never Go Back (2016) 37%

Rating: PG-13, for sequences of violence and action, some bloody images, language and thematic elements.

The sequel to 2012’s Jack Reacher finds Tom Cruise pummeling more bad guys – and running, always running — even as his character is suspected of being a bad guy himself. This time, he teams up with Cobie Smulders, who plays an old friend accused of espionage. Brutal fight sequences, thrilling action set pieces and considerable carnage ensue. Characters get shot and beaten to death in director Edward Zwick’s film, which is once again based on a Lee Child novel. But because this is PG-13 violence, there isn’t exactly a realistic amount of bloodshed. There’s also some language scattered throughout, the suggestion of drugs and a grown-up subplot about whether Reacher has a daughter he never knew. This is probably OK for viewers around 12 or 13 and older.

Ouija: Origin of Evil (2016) 82%

Rating: PG-13, for disturbing images, terror and thematic elements.

Good lord, is this movie scary. It’s also a total blast. But it’s got some supremely creepy imagery that will freak you out no matter how old you are. In this prequel to the 2014 horror movie Ouija, set in 1967, Elizabeth Reaser stars as a widowed fortuneteller living in Los Angeles and raising her two daughters (Annalise Basso and Lulu Wilson). One day, she brings home a hot new board game called Ouija to spice up her activities with her clients. Soon, strange things start happening involving the younger daughter, Wilson’s Doris, who has connected with restless spirits who inhabited the family’s house decades earlier. The little girl says and does startling things and her wholesome appearance changes in disturbing ways as the evil builds within her. We also see the actual demon that takes over her body, and there are several terrifying deaths. But director and co-writer Mike Flanagan has made a beautifully crafted horror film, filled with atmosphere and authentic period detail. If you’re a fan of the genre, you’ll dig it. Just don’t bring the kids unless they’re teenagers.

Keeping Up With The Joneses (2016) 19%

Rating: PG-13, for sexual content, action/violence and brief strong language.

Tame suburbanites Jeff and Karen (Zach Galifianakis and Isla Fisher) think they’re happy enjoying the mundane security of their cozy cul-de-sac – until exotic and exciting new neighbors Tim and Natalie (Jon Hamm and Gal Gadot) move in across the street and shake things up. Turns out, they’re spies! Madcap hilarity ensues. Director Greg Mottola (Superbad, Adventureland) has given us a rather conventional fish-out-of-water action comedy, as Jeff and Karen bumble their way through dangerous scenarios and Tim and Natalie struggle to maintain their cover. Expect massive car chases, shootouts and explosions. There’s also a scene in which the husbands get drunk on snake wine; meanwhile, the wives try on lingerie together at the department store. And we see both couples getting a little frisky. This is suitable for kids around 13 and older – but it’s not very good.



Independence Day: Resurgence (2016) 29%

Rating: PG-13, for sequences of sci-fi action and destruction, and for some language.

Kids around 10 and older probably will be fine watching this sequel to the 1996 smash-hit blockbuster Independence Day. But my own son, who was 6 ½ when I brought him to a screening, slept through about half the movie. Lucky him. This time, the aliens are back, and they want… more of the same thing they wanted before, maybe? Not that it matters, because it’s all about the spectacle. It’s big, shiny, and noisy in the over-the-top tradition of Roland Emmerich, but without the kind of visceral thrills you usually get with the director’s outlandish action extravaganzas. Twenty years after the original film’s alien battle, humans have learned to use their technology for everything from space exploration to getting across town more efficiently. But just as America is about to celebrate the anniversary of that victory, the aliens return — in a spaceship that’s 3,000 miles wide, no less — to lock onto our planet and drill into its core for resources. Or something. Anyway, Jeff Goldblum, Bill Pullman, Judd Hirsch, and Brent Spiner are back — Will Smith opted out, wisely — fighting alongside newcomers Liam Neeson, Maika Monroe, Jessie T. Usher, William Fichtner and (in the strangest bit of casting of all) Charlotte Gainsbourg. There’s massive urban destruction, ostensibly resulting in massive death, little of which we actually see. The aliens are big, gooey, and relentless in typical alien fashion. Children are in peril — a school bus full of them, for good measure. There’s a bit of language. And there are lots of battles in which human and alien ships shoot green lasers at each other that go “Pew! Pew! Pew!”

Tag Cloud

ABC Family MTV Trailer sports Ghostbusters A&E festivals 71st Emmy Awards SXSW Chilling Adventures of Sabrina book ESPN thriller Bravo RT History Disney dramedy Nat Geo Rom-Com Sundance sitcom Britbox DirecTV See It Skip It Women's History Month Musical CW Seed Reality The Purge TCA 2017 dc sequel cars nature boxoffice E! mockumentary Lifetime Video Games Apple TV+ 2019 based on movie TruTV BET Mary Tyler Moore First Look golden globes Trivia Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Showtime children's TV Marvel Television versus ITV composers 20th Century Fox 2016 cancelled TV shows 007 Horror anthology Holidays Music VICE TV renewals BBC Nickelodeon zero dark thirty Disney streaming service Hallmark Christmas movies canceled TV shows Turner war NBC Marathons Acorn TV DGA Cosplay FOX Box Office witnail The Arrangement Oscars Comic Book romantic comedy HBO OneApp Chernobyl Food Network Winter TV Comics on TV Emmys Set visit Grammys Summer Arrowverse blaxploitation comics Apple TV Plus Hallmark 2018 Fantasy singing competition Binge Guide slashers Cannes discovery ghosts justice league LGBTQ Marvel Studios Starz USA Network President aliens Pixar VH1 Pet Sematary reboot werewolf SDCC YouTube Premium docudrama Syfy Shudder Countdown screen actors guild name the review Comedy Central Universal diversity Apple cops Schedule joker doctor who El Rey Endgame The Walking Dead Crackle Film Festival Creative Arts Emmys TCA series zombie 21st Century Fox Nominations award winner IFC free movies Classic Film Film talk show TLC Pirates WGN Interview toy story crossover Freeform movies Musicals Spectrum Originals hispanic Dark Horse Comics tv talk Photos Best and Worst OWN natural history BBC America YA sag awards CMT Infographic unscripted American Society of Cinematographers foreign Amazon Prime Teen richard e. Grant TNT Turner Classic Movies 24 frames game show Awards National Geographic politics Election Esquire green book renewed TV shows blockbuster Martial Arts APB animated Character Guide DC Universe cancelled TV series batman PaleyFest MCU Mudbound Western Comedy Mary Poppins Returns disaster spain spy thriller medical drama binge Spike Rock Quiz Polls and Games Disney Plus Calendar south america First Reviews miniseries Discovery Channel FXX Mystery Sundance TV rotten movies we love Marvel serial killer PBS Ovation Columbia Pictures Peacock Anna Paquin USA anime History Pride Month zombies Paramount Network Thanksgiving Holiday ABC dceu Kids & Family 2020 Premiere Dates Reality Competition X-Men HBO Max Biopics YouTube Red Stephen King Certified Fresh Disney+ Disney Plus GIFs Star Trek game of thrones stand-up comedy facebook technology adaptation comiccon police drama halloween cartoon Superheroes Toys elevated horror spider-man screenings TV streaming cancelled television Vudu Rocketman directors CBS Television Academy Heroines biography teaser CBS All Access A24 indie FX cinemax period drama Christmas CNN New York Comic Con Captain marvel Animation comic jamie lee curtis latino Shondaland supernatural video Warner Bros. Masterpiece 2017 Trophy Talk spinoff psychological thriller Sneak Peek Year in Review cooking crime drama Crunchyroll crime thriller Drama Star Wars Winners quibi breaking bad vampires Epix YouTube 45 Lucasfilm Tarantino casting Avengers GoT Extras Rocky Pop Mindy Kaling cults TIFF cats canceled political drama Awards Tour TCM NYCC travel mutant Walt Disney Pictures spanish language 2015 robots christmas movies DC streaming service Action WarnerMedia science fiction IFC Films Tubi Fall TV cancelled Adult Swim Brie Larson GLAAD dragons true crime what to watch ratings TBS LGBT psycho harry potter Amazon Prime Video Sundance Now TV Land Family Academy Awards strong female leads Fox News Logo DC Comics The Witch Valentine's Day Sci-Fi crime Spring TV theme song Netflix SundanceTV hist Podcast Lionsgate Red Carpet Tumblr Sony Pictures Cartoon Network historical drama MSNBC Baby Yoda RT21 Opinion kids Lifetime Christmas movies Mary poppins Hulu Tomatazos Elton John E3 Writers Guild of America finale transformers social media Disney Channel Black Mirror TCA Winter 2020 romance The CW Superheroe Emmy Nominations Country Super Bowl Paramount revenge Netflix Christmas movies Amazon television San Diego Comic-Con independent Watching Series AMC Song of Ice and Fire Ellie Kemper space adventure