"RocketMan" (PG, 1 hour, 34 minutes)
After weeks of drought -- a PG movie! Parents of kindergartners on up, you may spend the next few weeks watching kids imitate the geeky hero in this supremely cheesy, monumentally silly -- and occasionally quite funny -- space farce.
Science-savvy kids will groan at the movie's simple-mindedness. Unless you count the exclamation "Sweet, swirling onion rings!" there's no strong language, but in one scene a character drinks liquor, and in a flashback his child-self goes for a ride in a dryer -- not a stunt children should copy. If the kids like this one, it must be time to rent "Innerspace" (PG, 1987), with Martin Short, and all of Jerry Lewis' old movies.
"The Matchmaker" (R, 1 hour, 37 minutes)
Peppered with profanity as well as blarney, this comedy about a no-nonsense American woman stranded in a picturesque Irish town nonetheless offers a few light pleasures for high schoolers. Janeane Garofalo plays an aide to a Massachusetts senator sent to Ireland to trace his roots and, with luck, find a Kennedy connection. She gets stuck in a little town during a matchmaking festival and everyone wants to find her a mate. Only a cynical unemployed journalist (David O'Hara) has any success getting past her tough exterior. The rating also reflects mild sexual innuendo. If older teens like "The Matchmaker," think how much they'd enjoy the far superior and more offbeat "Local Hero" (PG, 1983), about an American executive who's transformed by life in a Scottish village.
Beyond the ratings game
"In & Out," PG-13 (Sweet, riotous comedy about high school teacher who's "outed" spoofs narrow-mindedness, homophobia. Rare crude language, profanity; strong verbal sexual innuendo; men kissing.)
"Kiss the Girls" (Killer-rapist pursued by forensic psychologist in well-acted but creepily voyeuristic thriller. Strongly implied violence against women; non-explicit sexual situations; verbal, visual sexual innuendo; nudity; profanity; severed body parts shown. Older high schoolers.)
"Soul Food." (Well-acted but overly sentimental saga of a middle-class African-American family. Unnecessarily explicit sex scenes ruin it for pre-high schoolers. Adultery theme; occasional profanity; brief mild violence. High schoolers.)
"The Peacemaker" (Nuclear terrorists nullified in murky but entertaining thriller. Nuclear explosion; bloody shootings, suicide, fistfights; children in danger; occasional profanity. High schoolers; younger teens with permission.)
"The Edge" (Two men in Alaskan wilderness, stalked by bear, self-doubts in fun, brainy action adventure. Graphic, bloody bear attacks; profanity; reference to cocaine; mild sexual innuendo. High schoolers.)
"L.A. Confidential" (Stylish thriller of corruption, redemption in '50s L.A. Bloody gunplay, fights; rotting corpse, rats; hints of rape, torture; erotic photos; gay subplot; sexual innuendo; rare strong profanity; liquor, cigarettes. Mature high schoolers.)
"The Game" (Millionaire humbled by intense virtual reality game. Mostly bloodless gunplay; non-graphic flashback of parental suicide; rare strong profanity; sexual innuendo; non-explicit hints of porn videos. High schoolers.)
"U-Turn" (Nightmarish Oliver Stone comedy follows lowlife gambler into adulterous murder plot in corrupt desert town. Highly explicit sex scenes; verbal sexual innuendo; nudity; hints of incest; graphic violence; profanity; drinking, smoking. Older high schoolers only.)
"Wishmaster" (Gross horror flick about evil genie on the loose. Disemboweling tortures, bloody gun deaths; skeletons, serpents, statues come to life and kill; profanity, drinking, smoking. High schoolers.)
"A Thousand Acres" (Tragic tale of family feud from Jane Smiley novel and "King Lear" makes for well-acted, OK melodrama. Rare strong language; mild but adulterous sexual situation; verbal references to childhood molestation, beatings. Teens.)