Parental Guidance

Parental Guidance: Free Birds and Last Vegas, Plus Monsters University and R.I.P.D.

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

by | November 1, 2013 | Comments

In Theaters This Week:

Free Birds


Rating: PG, for some action/peril and rude humor.

Owen Wilson lends his distinctive, nasal twang to the voice of Reggie, a turkey who realizes he and his brethren are all being fattened up to become the main course for Thanksgiving feasts. He and a very intense, muscular turkey named Jake (Woody Harrelson) travel back in time to the first Thanksgiving to keep their kind off the menu for good. There’s a ton of stuff going on in this animated adventure — characters, subplots, themes, antics — none of which is terribly funny or thrilling. The kids at the screening I attended were uncharacteristically low-key and seemed unengaged. There’s nothing offensive or inappropriate here — a big battle scene is mere spectacle. And a half-hearted metaphor in which the film likens turkey slaughter to the plight of Native Americans will probably go over kids’ heads.

Last Vegas


Rating: PG-13, or sexual content and language.

I can’t really imagine why you’d want to take your kids to this comedy about a quartet of 70-year-olds (Michael Douglas, Robert De Niro, Morgan Freeman and Kevin Kline) who reunite in Las Vegas for a bachelor party. But if for some reason your family is at the multiplex and you need to find something you can all watch, this would probably be fine for tweens and up. There are the obligatory Viagra jokes and a subplot about sanctioned cheating. The guys judge a bikini contest by the pool and enjoy a wild night of drinking and partying at a nightclub. And Kline’s character lets loose with one big, loud, well-timed F-bomb. Surprisingly, the movie itself is funnier and not as hacky as it looks, largely because the four stars bring such great presence to their roles.

New On DVD:

Monsters University


Rating: G.

Tiny, lime-green Mikey (voiced by Billy Crystal) and big, blue Sulley (John Goodman) are back together again in this prequel to the 2001 Pixar hit Monsters, Inc. The movie introduces us to how Mikey and Sulley met during their freshman year in college and studied to be the master scarers they eventually become. Speaking of scares, there aren’t too many in this lively, colorful, family-friendly comedy; my son, Nicolas, was 3 ½ when I took him to see this and he did just fine. The dean of the scaring school — an intimidating, centipede-like creature voiced by Helen Mirren — might frighten the littlest viewers as she swoops through the air and then scampers about on her sharp claws. The rest of the monsters are goofy, or furry, or squishy, and thoroughly adorable and clever.



Rating: PG-13, for violence, sci-fi/fantasy action, some sensuality and language including sex references.

This inferior version of Men in Black finds Ryan Reynolds and Jeff Bridges as mismatched buddy cops who’ve been killed in the line of duty during different centuries. They’re forced to work together in a sort of purgatory to prevent the dead from taking over the living world. Based on a graphic novel, R.I.P.D. features grotesque and menacing creatures who transform before our eyes. They’re disgusting to look at but are never really scary, partly because the 3-D conversion looks so messy. There’s also quite a bit of gunfire but it’s of the cartoonish variety coming from souped-up, supernatural weaponry.

Tag Cloud

composers Music Summer Trailer Crackle Oscars Action NBC Calendar Best and Worst PaleyFest AMC Syfy Universal serial killer Mindy Kaling Grammys Superheroes singing competition LGBTQ A&E Tumblr supernatural Winners Sundance ABC Amazon diversity vampires WGN History Kids & Family travel harry potter historical drama Musical TCM Pop American Society of Cinematographers TNT Teen Dark Horse Comics crime Thanksgiving TCA 2017 Disney Channel YA Infographic DC Comics VH1 MTV FOX Biopics Emmys boxoffice politics Photos CBS All Access Spring TV Star Wars Sneak Peek Sci-Fi TLC Comedy Central science fiction APB DirecTV Valentine's Day Nominations dramedy ITV Set visit Adult Swim Tomatazos Character Guide Premiere Dates ESPN Hulu Rom-Com E! Cartoon Network CBS police drama Marvel Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Comedy Nat Geo cooking Ghostbusters Showtime 24 frames Winter TV The CW Box Office CNN Martial Arts aliens crime drama MSNBC Disney GoT Logo Musicals Trivia Nickelodeon social media OWN TV biography VICE The Arrangement zombie Polls and Games Starz Lifetime PBS Masterpiece sitcom 2016 007 Esquire First Look period drama discovery Ellie Kemper Marathons 2017 Toys TIFF technology Rock El Rey Pirates Food Network Star Trek Watching Series Bravo NYCC TCA President Comic Book Interview Podcast Horror TBS cinemax FX TruTV Netflix Video Games SundanceTV Mary Tyler Moore Rocky HBO TV Land Freeform X-Men cops RT History Red Carpet IFC docudrama Extras psycho Opinion USA Lionsgate Fantasy BBC Drama FXX Animation GLAAD Awards war Writers Guild of America Countdown Year in Review Fox News SDCC ABC Family Super Bowl Mystery Fall TV thriller Certified Fresh Election adventure 2015 Holidays comiccon CMT GIFs BBC America Cosplay based on movie BET crime thriller Country sports Reality Reality Competition Schedule