"Meet the Deedles" (PG, 1 hour, 30 minutes)
In this dull, dopey doofus flick, a pair of surfer dudes save Yellowstone from a crazed ex-park ranger who aims to plug up Old Faithful. Kids 8 and up may get into the surfer lingo, the slapstick skateboard antics and over-the-cliff car stunts, or they may yawn. Under-8s will find the vocabulary tough to penetrate. What they will catch are occasional crude language and mild cusswords, flatulence and diarrhea jokes. There's also a dash of mild sexual innuendo.
P.S. for kids 8 and up: Even though the Deedle brothers act like they're 10 instead of 18 and cause confusion and craziness, they do have a sense of responsibility. When they realize that people are depending on them, they come through, in their own weird way.
"Mrs. Dalloway" (PG-13, 1 hour, 37 minutes)
This emotionally complex, visually rich adaptation of Virginia Woolf's 1925 novel could easily catch reflective teens in its web -- even inspire them to read the book. The rating reflects war scenes, non-sexual nudity, an awkwardly charged kiss between two young women and discussion of an out-of-wedlock pregnancy.
"The Newton Boys" (PG-13, 2 hours, 2 minutes)
A lively sepia-toned story of criminals on a bank-robbing spree in the Midwest just after World War I, this fact-based story hasn't got the sort of violence that many teens have grown accustomed to watching. Instead, it has winning characterizations, snappy dialogue that fits the period, and a handsome look. Gunplay, fisticuffs, even pistol whipping and police beatings, are noisy but not graphic or prolonged. One brother is shot, though, and his wounds are bloody. Occasional profanity and crude language also earn the PG-13, as well as toilet humor, drinking, smoking and mild sexual innuendo.
"Grease" (PG, 20th anniversary re-release)
John Travolta, Olivia Newton-John musical set in 1950s, adapted from Broadway show. Teens might groove to its kitschy-kitschy cool. Constant sex chatter, slang, innuendo might warrant PG-13 now. Heavy make-out scene with condom joke, hint of unwanted pregnancy, drinking, smoking.
Beyond the ratings game
OK for 6 and up:
"The Borrowers," PG (Charming adaptation of Mary Norton books about tiny folk living under floorboards. Fun-scary action. British accents require tots full attention.)
PG-13 or oughta be:
"The Man in the Iron Mask" (Middle-aged Musketeers in rollicking adaptation of Dumas novel, but Leonardo DiCaprio miscast as king. Semi-nudity, bawdy sexual innuendo; bloodless swordplay, gunplay; suicide attempts -- one tragic, one comic.)
"U.S. Marshals" (Tommy Lee Jones chases another escapee in fun but mindless, heartless thriller. Bloody gunplay; car, plane mayhem; crude oaths, epithets; ethnic slur.)
"Mr. Nice Guy" (Martial arts clown Jackie Chan vs. drug gangs in amateurish thriller. High-kicking violence never graphic, little blood; sexual innuendo; profanity.)