"Why Do Fools Fall in Love" (R, 1 hour, 56 minutes)
The early days of rock 'n' roll are slammed and celebrated in this deliciously entertaining comedy-drama based on the life and wives of '50s rock star Frankie Lymon (Larenz Tate). Though it's more likely to appeal to parents, many high-schoolers will warm to the music, humor, social history and fashions. The rating reflects strong profanity, as well as occasional sexual innuendo and semiexplicit sexual situations. Scenes of heroin use, drinking, brief violence, shoplifting, and the off-screen death of a dog dropped from a window also earn the R.
"Next Stop, Wonderland" (R, 1 hour, 37 minutes)
A charmer of a romantic comedy about being single, "Next Stop, Wonderland" is fine for most teens, but it's not a Hollywood film and the lack of slickness coupled with a Bossa Nova soundtrack may put them off. The rating reflects profanity and mild sexual innuendo. Characters also smoke.
"Wrongfully Accused" (PG-13, 1 hour, 27 minutes)
It misses about as often as it hits, but teens may appreciate the slapstick silliness in this spoof of Hollywood thrillers and like being able to ID the movies being parodied. The movie's comic verbal and visual sexual innuendo often pushes the PG-13 envelope, while the occasional crude language, toilet humor and slapstick violence are on the mild side, more in keeping with the rating.
Beyond the ratings game:
OK for 6 and up:
"Air Bud: Golden Receiver" G (Basketball-playing pooch moves into football in friendly, fun sequel. Non-scary villains; Buddy slightly injured in game, but OK; issues of grief, loss as boy thinks about dead father.)
More for 10 and up:
"Dance With Me" PG (Sugary but likable romantic fable of Cuban immigrant who gets job at dance school; with Latino star Chayanne and Vanessa L. Williams. Terrific, steamy Latin dancing, smoldering glances.)
"The Avengers" (Special agents John Steed, Emma Peel stop evil scientist in dreary special high-tech update of '60s British TV hit. Bloodless martial arts, gun violence; mild profanity, sexual innuendo, seminudity.)
"Ever After" (Light, lavish new take on "Cinderella" has 16th-century lass master own fate, with Leonardo da Vinci's aid. Heart attack scene; mild sexual innuendo; sword fights with some blood; rare crude language.)
"Blade" (Wesley Snipes as Marvel Comics superhero on crusade to kill vampires in tedious, blood-soaked thriller. Throats ripped, heads exploded; much profanity; brief sexual situation; sexual innuendo. Older high-schoolers.)
"Dead Man on Campus" (College roomies seek depressed guy to live with them, thinking his suicide could earn them sympathy 4.0's in droll, un-P.C. comedy. Suicide, mental illness spoofed; marijuana, liquor use; sexual situations; profanity. Mature high-schoolers.)
"How Stella Got Her Groove Back" (40-year-old divorcee has fling with 20-year-old Adonis in goopy romance from Terry McMillan novel. Muted to semiexplicit sexual situations; partial nudity; profanity; issues of death, grieving. High-schoolers.)
"Return to Paradise" (American jailed for drugs in Malaysia will die unless travel pals return to share prison sentence in intriguing but clumsy drama. Drugs, booze, cigarettes; profanity; sexual situations; seminudity; a hanging. Older teens.)
"Halloween: H20" (Jamie Lee Curtis, heroine of first "Halloween," in less scary, more predictable sequel. Slasher violence; gun death; teen and adult drinking; profanity; mild sexual situations. High-schoolers.)
"Snake Eyes" (Nicholas Cage as corrupt cop investigating assassination in clever but self-conscious thriller. Gun, fist violence not up-close graphic; rare profanity; mild sexual innuendo. Teens.)
"Saving Private Ryan" (Steven Spielberg's shattering D-Day fable has moral weight of "All Quiet on the Western Front." Gut-churning violence; profanity; sexual innuendo. Mature high-schoolers.)
"There's Something About Mary" (30-ish Guy tracks down high school crush in tasteless, riotous comedy. Gags about privates, masturbation, mentally, physically challenged; fake pooch abused; profanity; partial nudity; marijuana, liquor. Older high-schoolers.)