Pixar’s latest effort, a sequel to the 2004 hit The Incredibles, is another Certified Fresh winner, and it’s already breaking ticket sales records. If you have kids of theater-going age, then you’re likely going to see Incredibles 2 this weekend. With that in mind, Christy Lemire tells you what you might need to keep an eye out for if you’ve got very young children, and she also offers three more movies about unusual families that you can watch at home.
Rating: PG, for action sequences and some brief mild language.
Mr. Incredible, Elastigirl, Jack-Jack, and Edna Mode are back in this high-energy sequel to the 2004 Pixar Animation hit The Incredibles. Writer-director Brad Bird also returns, picking up right where he left off with the first film. But many citizens now lament the damage superheroes cause while fighting crime and saving lives, and politicians want to outlaw them entirely. So a wealthy brother and sister (voiced by Bob Odenkirk and Catherine Keener) enlist the Parr family for a campaign to rehabilitate their image, starting with Holly Hunter’s Elastigirl. At the same time, a villain is on the loose, hypnotizing people and forcing them to behave violently using the moniker the Screenslaver. Will the Incredibles be able to stop him? And will the diminutive diva designer Edna Mode (also Bird) find something fabulous for them to wear while they’re trying? Incredibles 2 is just as much fun as the original. It’s thrillingly paced and beautifully detailed, with toddler Jack-Jack nearly stealing the whole thing while feeling out his newfound powers. But some moments with the Screenslaver – who wears a menacing mask and lurks in the shadows – might be too scary for very little kids, including one scene in particular that takes place at his dark, hidden lab in an old apartment building. Also, the effect his hypnosis has on people might disturb young viewers. Incredibles 2 has the sorts of chases, fistfights, and general peril you’d expect from a summer blockbuster. But it also has a lot of worthwhile messages about sticking together and fighting for what’s right. Fine for viewers around 7 and older.
If you’re looking for other movies involving unusual families that you can share with your own family, here are a few suggestions:
Well, they’re only unusual for a day – a particular Friday, that is – but Annabel Andrews and her mom do cram in a lot of wild adventures over just a few short hours. A young Jodie Foster — in one of the veteran actress’ great, early roles — stars as a stressed-out teenager who thinks her mom has it easy. Meanwhile, her harried mother (a game Barbara Harris) envies the simplicity she sees in Annabel’s young life. Neither of them truly understands the challenges the other faces on a daily basis – but they get a taste when they accidentally wish to switch lives for the day. This is a classic body-swap comedy as well as a vintage Disney live-action family film. Both mother and daughter find themselves caught in a lot of awkward moments and slapstick calamities. A car chase, an out-of-control washing machine, and a water skiing extravaganza are among the many wacky antics that erupt throughout the day. It’s all wholesome, harmless fun. A remake came out in 2003 starring Lindsay Lohan and Jamie Lee Curtis, and while it was certainly enjoyable (and had more high-tech special effects), the original has an old-fashioned charm about it. Good for all ages.
Rating: PG-13, for irreverent humor throughout.
Our son, who is now 8, has been watching The Simpsons for years. He reads the comic books. He quotes random, classic lines from the show. He looks to troublemaking Bart as a charismatic role model. Now, this may not be your particular parenting path. You may think The Simpsons are inappropriate, despite their pleasingly colorful, animated appearance. And I totally get that. But if your kids love The Simpsons, they’ll love this feature-length adventure. All the same slapstick is there, along with the trademark satire for older viewers to appreciate. As always, Matt Groening’s creation manages to be accessible yet sophisticated all at once. The plot has to do with Homer causing a catastrophe when he adopts a pet pig. Injuries and inside pop culture references abound. We also get some Bart nudity, in case you want to prepare to shield your kids’ eyes. The Simpsons Movie has the same great energy and brash humor as the TV show and the same underlying heart. Fine for viewers around 9 and older.
This is the feature film version of the 1960s sitcom of the same name, which follows the misadventures of the ghoulish Addams clan. But while director Barry Sonnenfeld maintains the television show’s playfully monstrous vibe, the humor here tends to be a tad more grown-up and darker. It’s about the eccentric, wealthy Addamses – including father Gomez (Raul Julia), mother Morticia (Anjelica Huston), and daughter Wednesday (Christina Ricci) – becoming the target of a scheme to steal their fortune. Madcap hilarity and macabre frights ensure. The mere look of these characters and their world is probably too much for very little kids, though. An animated remake is planned for 2019 from the directors of Sausage Party, featuring Charlize Theron, Chloe Grace Moretz, and Finn Wolfhard among the voice cast, but you can get your Addams fix before then. And now that catchy theme song is stuck in your head. You’re welcome (snap, snap). Fine for viewers around 10 and older.