Parental Guidance

How Family-Friendly are Ratchet & Clank, Mother's Day, and The Meddler?

by | April 29, 2016 | Comments

This week, Christy goes over a new video game adaptation, Garry Marshall’s latest holiday-based ensemble movie, and a solid comedy that opened last week. Read on for details.


NEW IN THEATERS

 

Ratchet & Clank (2016) 21%

Rating: PG, for action and some rude humor.

This animated family comedy is based on the sci-fi video game of the same name about the adventures of a cat-like creature named Ratchet, who’s a mechanic, and Clank, his robot friend. The two team up with a group of Galactic Rangers to stop the villainous Chairman Drek (voiced by Paul Giamatti) from blowing up various planets for his own nefarious purposes. John Goodman, Rosario Dawson, Sylvester Stallone, and Bella Thorne are also among the starry voice cast. This movie is pretty harmless but it’s also not very good. The jokes are flat, the antics are noisy and the overall tone is annoyingly cheeky. As for whether it’s appropriate for your kids, though, there’s a bit of action violence but it’s never scary. There is some weaponry and we see a few explosions, but it’s cartoonish in every sense of the word. I brought my 6 ½-year-old son to a screening and nothing bothered him. If your kids are begging to see Ratchet & Clank, it’ll be fine for around ages 6 or 7 and older.


Mother's Day (2016) 8%

Rating: PG-13, for language and suggestive material.

This is the latest holiday-based comedy from director Garry Marshall, who previously gave us Valentine’s Day and New Year’s Eve. Once again, a large, A-list cast (Jennifer Aniston, Julia Roberts, Kate Hudson, Jason Sudeikis) comes together in several intertwined storylines, all of which are meant to celebrate the joys and challenges of motherhood. There is language scattered throughout, including the one F-bomb you get in a PG-13 movie, which Aniston gets to drop. There’s a running bit in which a couple of racist parents from Texas (Margo Martindale and Robert Pine) make inappropriate comments about their daughter’s Indian husband. But while the content is mostly harmless, it’s also terrible. There’s not a single authentic moment in the entire movie — which, at a couple minutes under two hours, feels like a massive slog. Avoid, regardless of age.


The Meddler (2015) 85%

Rating: PG-13, for brief drug material.

I wanted to play catch-up with this one because I missed it last week, and it’s a far preferable movie to take your mom to than Mother’s Day. Susan Sarandon stars as Marnie, a widow who moves from New Jersey to Los Angeles to be near her daughter (Rose Byrne), who’s a television writer. Marnie calls and texts her daughter incessantly and shows up at her house unannounced, but she also insinuates herself in the lives of people she barely knows. She means well, but she’s also extremely needy and clingy. There’s some language here and some grown-up talk about death and grief during therapy sessions. There’s also one scene in which Marnie eats a bag full of marijuana to hide it from a security guard and goes on a hallucinatory trip while wandering around an outdoor mall. But this is a fine movie for tweens and older to see, with some nice performances.


NEW ON DVD

 

Ride Along 2 (2016) 14%

Rating: PG-13, for sequences of violence, sexual content, language and some drug material.

The sequel to the surprise 2014 hit Ride Along reunites stars Kevin Hart and Ice Cube for more mismatched buddy-cop antics. It’s essentially the same movie all over again — Hart chatters, Cube glowers — but this time, Hart’s character really is a probationary police officer, and not just a wannabe. Still, he manages to mess things up with his unstoppable enthusiasm and half-baked notions of detective work. He follows his soon-to-be brother-in-law from Atlanta to Miami to stop a villainous shipping magnate (Benjamin Bratt) from doing something villainous. Shootouts, explosions and copious amounts of South Beach booty shaking ensue. There’s also some language and sexually suggestive material. If you must watch this, it’s probably OK for mature tweens to watch, too.

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