PEOPLE's Critic Weighs in on Family-Friendly Films for the Weekend

11/27/2008 at 02:00 PM ET
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by guest blogger Leah Rozen, PEOPLE’s film critic:

Fittingly enough on this Thanksgiving holiday, there’s a cornucopia of family-friendly choices at the nation’s multiplexes. If, after you’ve stuffed yourself with stuffing (and turkey, sweet potatoes, and pumpkin and pecan pie), you want to take your brood to a movie, here’s a quick look at the leading possibilities:

Bolt. This clever animated comedy is definitely worth barking about. A Disney film, it’s the best choice if the entire family, including younger children, is going. It follows the adventures of a cute pooch (voiced by John Travolta) who, after spending years as the star of a popular TV action series in Hollywood, must learn to cope with real life. Tweener fave Miley Cyrus provides the voice of Penny, the dog’s beloved human owner. Rated PG. Appropriate for ages 6 and older.

Twilight. If you’re looking for a movie with more bite than bark, try this romantic drama about a teen girl (Kristen Stewart) who falls for a classmate who just happens to be a vampire (Robert Pattinson). Twilight gets the swoony obsessiveness of adolescent love just right. This one is based on the bestselling novel of the same name by Stephenie Meyer; plans for a sequel, based on a second book, have already been announced. Rated PG-13. Appropriate for ages 10 and older.

Australia. Big and sweeping, this romantic drama starring Nicole Kidman and Hugh Jackman doesn’t know when to quit, which is a polite way of saying it’s running time is close to 2 hours and 40 minutes. Set just before and during WWII in the Australian Outback, it’s a movie that’s easy to like but harder to love. Kids will be particularly interested in a subplot involving the fate of an Aboriginal orphan. Rated PG-13. Appropriate for ages 10 and older.

Courtesy Warner Bros.

Four Christmases. In this passable comedy, a couple (Reese Witherspoon and Vince Vaughn) reluctantly visit all four of their divorced parents in a single day to glug eggnnog and celebrate Noel. The film offers some laughs, but this one isn’t going to make anyone’s list of all-time holiday classics. Spoiler alert: If your kids still believe in Santa Claus, be forewarned that the movie spills the beans. Rated PG-13. Appropriate for ages 12 and older.

Other child-friendly possibilities still in theaters: Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa, High School Musical 3: Senior Year and, for adolescents, The Secret Life of Bees. 

FILED UNDER: News

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Amy on

Wow! I just saw Australia last night and I can’t believe they are saying its okay for 10 year olds!!! I wouldnt let my child go to it. And…it was VERY long!

michelleanne on

Loved BOLT, saw it this weekend, very cute , the hamster is adorable steels the show.

Micky on

Spoiler alert: if your kids are young enough to still believe in Santa, be a responsible parent and DON’T take them to a movie rated PG-13! DUH!

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