"Down to Earth" (PG-13, 1 hour, 28 minutes)
Chris Rock and company land with a thud in this unimaginative remake of "Heaven Can Wait" (PG, 1978, itself a redo of "Here Comes Mr. Jordan" from 1941). Many teens will find laughs in Rock's stand-up routines, but the gimmicky, poorly executed plot holds little charm. The rating reflects verbal sexual innuendo that will go over many preteens' heads but isn't appropriate for them, mild comic sexual situations, a suicide played for laughs, hip profanity and brief, understated violence.
"Recess: School's Out" (G, 1 hour, 24 minutes)
An animated adventure based on the Saturday morning show, "Disney's Recess," this feature still has the flat look of a TV cartoon, and only about a half-hour's worth of real giggles. The movie's fine for first-graders and older, though the littlest may get scared while watching young T.J. (voice of Andy Lawrence) and friends chased by Ninjas and other goons while trying to save Principal Prickly (Dabney Coleman), their school and the world from a nefarious plot to stop summer vacation!
"Sweet November" (PG-13, 2 hours)
This romantic dramedy starring Charlize Theron and Keanu Reeves tries hard to elicit laughter and tears, and for teens with their short cinematic memories, it might work. The rating covers sexual innuendo, a couple of steamy sexual situations (one semiexplicit), profanity, crude language and a theme of grief and loss. It's probably a poor choice for preteens.
"Saving Silverman" (PG-13, 1 hour, 32 minutes)
Even teens who love crude humor may judge this doofus flick too stupid for their taste. It's too vulgar for preteens and even for some older kids, despite its rating. Nudging the gate on its PG-13 corral, "Saving Silverman" lets out crude verbal sexual innuendo, masturbation jokes, gross toilet humor, an equally gross surgical gag, mild sexual situations, slapstick violence, profanity and offensive ethnic stereotyping of Asians.
Beyond the ratings game
"Head Over Heels": Monica Potter as art restorer falls for guy across the street (Freddie Prinze Jr.). Subtle verbal sexual innuendo; jokes implying incest; gross toilet humor; male dog accosts women as potential mates; understated gun, knife violence.
"The Wedding Planner": Jennifer Lopez as workaholic wedding planner, Matthew McConaughey as groom-to-be, fight mutual attraction. Rare profanity; mild verbal sexual innuendo; visual joke involving manly bits of nude statue; drunkenness.
"Thirteen Days": Riveting look at 1962 Cuban missile crisis through eyes of JFK aide Kenneth P. O'Donnell (Kevin Costner). Frequent mild profanity; drinking; scary scene with U.S. spy plane dodging missiles over Cuba.)
"Save the Last Dance": Julia Stiles enrolls in mostly African-American Chicago high school after coming to live with estranged dad and finds that ace student, Sean Patrick Thomas, shares her love of dance. Mild profanity; understated fights, shootouts; mildly implied sexual situation; drinking.
"Hannibal": Anthony Hopkins as serial killer Hannibal Lecter, Julianne Moore as FBI agent Clarice Starling in sequel to "The Silence of the Lambs." Deaths by hanging, disemboweling, throat-slitting; infant endangered in shootout; wild boar attacks human; grotesquely disfigured face; explicit sexual innuendo; profanity. 16 and older.
"Valentine": Lame variation on "Scream" theme has four pretty, shallow women stalked by masked killer. Killings by knife, ax, bow and arrow, steam iron, etc.; leering verbal, visual sexual innuendo, one scene fairly explicit; seminude photos, videos of women; profanity. High-schoolers.
"Shadow of the Vampire": John Malkovich as director of real 1922 German vampire classic, "Nosferatu," Willem Dafoe as star Max Schreck. Understated violence does show bloody bites, gunplay, fisticuffs; Schreck munches on bat; partial nudity; drug abuse; drinking, smoking. High-schoolers.
"Snatch": Brad Pitt joins mostly British cast in funny, but mean-spirited gangster spoof. Loud gunplay, spattering blood; sawed-off limb, bare-fisted boxing; steaming profanity; crude verbal sexual innuendo; toplessness. Not for under-16s.
"Traffic": Michael Douglas as U.S. drug czar whose daughter's an addict, in smart, fast dissection of drug war. Occasional strong violence; sexual situations, one explicit; teens on drugs; profanity; drinking, smoking. Some Spanish with subtitles. High-schoolers.