Parental Guidance

Parental Guidance: Labor Day, Plus Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 and Last Vegas

We give you what you need to know about the family-friendliness of this week's new releases.

by | January 31, 2014 | Comments

In Theaters This Week:

Labor Day


Rating: PG-13, for thematic material, brief violence and sexuality.

Josh Brolin and Kate Winslet fall in doomed love – and make a delicious-looking peach pie – in this soapy romance/thriller/coming-of-age drama as seen through the eyes of a 13-year-old boy. Brolin plays a convicted killer who escapes from prison and takes Winslet’s depressed divorcee character and her son hostage in their New Hampshire home. For starters, Jason Reitman’s film is unintentionally hilarious. But it also has some mature material for young viewers, including flashbacks to the murder that landed Brolin’s character in prison as well as the traumatic events that destroyed Winslet’s character’s marriage and turned her into a shaky shell of her former self. I’d avoid it with kids. Actually, I’d avoid it all around if I were you.

New On DVD:

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs


Rating: PG, for mild rude humor.

There’s nothing even remotely scary or inappropriate in this animated 3-D sequel to the 2009 hit, which made $243 million worldwide. This time, the once-peaceful island of Swallow Falls has been taken over by marauding hybrid creatures known as Foodimals. While the original film had fun with disaster-movie conventions, this one plays with monster-movie motifs, with its Shrimpamzees and Tacodiles. It’s big and loud and messy but contains nothing inappropriate – unless you’re offended by the idea of flatulence humor. (Your kids certainly aren’t.) Some of the bad food puns will make you groan, though.

Last Vegas


Rating: PG-13, for sexual content and language.

I highly doubt that your kids will want to see this raunchy comedy about four 70-year-old lifelong friends (Michael Douglas, Robert De Niro, Morgan Freeman and Kevin Kline) who get together in Las Vegas for a bachelor party. But if your kids happen to be in the room when you rent it or watch it, Last Vegas is probably suitable for tweens and up. Of course, there are some Viagra jokes, but there’s also a subplot about sanctioned extramarital activities. The guys judge a bikini contest by the pool and enjoy a wild night of carousing at a nightclub. And Kline’s character lets loose with one loud, well-timed F-bomb. Surprisingly, the movie itself is funnier and not nearly as painful as it looks, mainly because the four stars provide such great presence and chemistry.

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