"Finding Nemo" (G, 1 hour, 44 minutes)
"Finding Nemo" brings great humor, heart and gorgeous, innovative computer animation to this story of a timid daddy fish who swims thousands of miles to rescue his son. Children of 6 and older and adults of all ages will judge "Finding Nemo" eminently see-worthy, with its wise, lessons on child rearing and child-being. Pixar animators (again through Disney) redefine "family entertainment" as they did with "Toy Story" (both G's, 1995, 1999), "a bug's life" (G, 1998) and "Monsters, Inc." (G, 2001). This fish tale includes danger, loss and sadness as well as hilarity. If parents take kids under 6 (and "Finding Nemo" is their first big theatrical film), they could get quite scared at times and need a lobby break. The vivid animation, despite its Sweet Tart colors, will look very real.
"The Italian Job" (PG-13, 1 hour, 42 minutes)
"The Italian Job" has a sense of high-stakes action and worldly sophistication that teens will like. Director F. Gary Gray and screenwriters Donna and Wayne Powers do this easily in a PG-13 film. There is gun violence, but no point-blank gore; the camera doesn't linger on the dead bodies; occasional profanity is largely mild, sexual innuendo understated. Spectacular car-helicopter-truck chases feature those much-ballyhooed Mini Coopers. Some parents will object to the portrayal of thieves as heroes.
Beyond the ratings game
6 and older:
"Daddy Day Care" PG -- Mostly riotous family farce stars Eddie Murphy, Jeff Garlin as unemployed dads who start a day-care center, competing with a snooty preschool. Toilet humor; mild sexual innuendo; scenes with tarantula, cockroaches, nightmarish child-care centers, could scare tots.
8 and older:
"The Lizzie McGuire Movie" PG -- Hilary Duff reprises her popular Disney Channel role as perky but insecure middle-schooler on class trip with best pal to Rome, where she finds romance and fleeting pop star fame. Little sexual innuendo or profanity, but heroine dresses in age-inappropriate clothes; teacher-chaperone insults kids cruelly.
"Bruce Almighty" -- Jim Carrey in amusing comedy about whiny Buffalo TV reporter who is given God's powers. Considerable mild sexual innuendo; toilet humor; other crude jokes; profanity; implied beating by street thugs. Mature preteens, too.
"The In-Laws" -- Michael Douglas as danger-addicted CIA operative, Albert Brooks as risk-averse podiatrist in sometimes droll, rather crude, mostly ponderous remake of 1979 comedy . Profanity; salty sexual innuendo; gay stereotype jokes; bloodless mayhem.
"Down With Love" -- Renee Zellweger, Ewan McGregor as latter-day Doris Day, Rock Hudson in technicolor spoof of 1950s romantic comedies a la "Pillow Talk" (1959). Mild sexual innuendo will go over (most) preteen heads; drinking, smoking.
"X2" -- Dazzling sequel to comic-book-inspired "X-Men" pits Professor Xavier and superpowered mutants against mutant-hating Stryker. Bloodless, stylized mayhem; mild sexual innuendo; beer, cigarettes; reptilian mutants may upset some; children shown in danger.
"The Matrix Reloaded" -- Neo, Morpheus and Trinity fight for computer-enslaved humankind in second part of Wachowski brothers' mythic trilogy -- a surreal corker with bloodless, gravity-defying action and philosophizing. Steamy, though mostly nongraphic, sexuality; seminudity; orgiastic dance; profanity; adrenaline-pumping mayhem. Teens.