Summer Movie Substitutes

Summer’s here, and your kids have probably already seen plenty of ads for the latest blockbusters. But some of what’s showing in theaters isn’t appropriate for younger children.

To help you direct your kids away from the stuff that’s rated R or PG-13 for a reason — and toward the things that could be rated A for Appropriate, Common Sense Media offers this guide to kid-friendly summer alternatives.

The buzz, the clothes, the Big! Why wouldn't kids want to see it? But the title says it all, and parents who watched the HBO version of the show know that it's riddled with, uh, adult content.
Summer Sub: Give kids a taste of NYC with tween-friendly comedies set in the Big Apple -- city tales without the sex!

There's been a huge push for this PG-13 film during the past year, but it's expected to be even darker than Batman Begins. The content, coupled with the real-life tragedy of Joker portrayer Heath Ledger, may be too much for some kids.
Summer Sub: Dark Knight may simply be too dark. Introduce younger kids to some TV superheroes who will ease them into good vs. evil instead.

Seth Rogen and James Franco ride the Pineapple Express this summer … and they ride it high. A Judd Apatow production, the film delivers its laughs via a lazy stoner and his lazier dealer. The humor will lure teens, but the drug themes may be a red flag for parents of tweens.
Summer Sub: Offer kids an Apatow alternative with some goofball jokes that even parents can appreciate.

Ben Stiller, Jack Black, and Robert Downey Jr. star as actors in a war movie who accidentally get involved in a real battle. Stiller and Black will draw in kids, as will the movie's outlandish premise (which includes Downey's actor character donning dark make-up to play an African-American), but parents need to know that drugs, violence, and language are also on the bill for this comedy.
Summer Sub: Stiller, Black, and Downey have delivered some other favorites that parents and tweens can enjoy for tamer laughs.

© 2008 Common Sense Media, a non-profit, nonpartisan organization seeking to improve the media lives of kids and families.