Return with Honor poster Becoming Jane poster

I thought it was an interesting trend this summer that there were so many PG-rated movies geared toward adult audiences (Hairspray, Evan Almighty, etc.).  It seems that PG movies are usually mostly kids fare.  Two other examples of “adult” PG movies are two of my favorites this year: Return with Honor and Becoming Jane.  Neither contained content that was substantially offensive, but I felt that they bordered the line between PG and PG-13. 

Return with Honor is about a returned LDS missionary who dies in a car accident and then is given 60 days to convert his mother.  As cheesy as the premise might sound, it is actually a beautifully nuanced film about the judgment we can impose on others.  Thematically, it is definitely not meant for children, as it deals with domestic abuse, alcoholism, violence, sex, and prostitution, though tastefully.  The movie doesn’t have any gratuitous sex, but it is sometimes intense and includes some mild language.  Becoming Jane is about the love life of Jane Austen.  It is very similar to other movies based on her novels, but much more naturalistic, dealing with the hard facts of life.  Life isn’t as clean-cut–or as clean–as her novels.  I was a bit shocked to see two completely naked men from behind in a PG movie.  The sexual innuendo was also very prominent and much more explicit than many PG-13 movies I’ve seen. 

As I said before, I thoroughly enjoyed both movies.  However, I would not want young children to be watching either of them until they are old enough to understand what they are watching.  Maybe they should be rated PG-13, but then again, most PG-13 movies are much worse than either of them.  I sometimes wonder if there should be a third rating in between PG and PG-13 for movies like these that don’t seem to fit either rating.  Or, conversely, these could be PG-13 (they are definitely fit for a 13-year-old to watch), and another rating could be added in between PG-13 and R for movies with more offensive content. 

At any rate, it will always be difficult to pidgeon-hole so many widely varying movies into only five or six ratings.  That’s why, even though ratings are a good guide, it’s also important for us to know what’s in movies before we go to see them or allow our children to watch them.  Kids-in-mind.com is a great place to go for that.  Before I see a movie, I usually check it out there first to see if there’s anything in it I might find offensive (although the site usually makes the content seem worse than it is).  If there is, I wait for the movie to come out on DVD so I can watch it on my Clearplay player with the content filtered.          

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Knocked Up

December 3, 2007

Knocked Up poster

This was an interesting R-rated movie.  I’d heard really good reviews for it, so I decided to rent it.  I have to say, I was a little shocked at some of the content.   Like Goodwill Hunting, which I previously posted on, there was a lot of profanity in this movie.  But the usage and context was quite different.  The swear words in Good Will Hunting that I thought added to the realism, actually took away from the realism and the overall quality of Knocked Up.

For some reason, the screenwriters fell in love with f-bombs and used them everywhere.  The problem was, they were just a cheap way to get a laugh.  A sort of substitute for genuine comedy.  The real shame is that the movie was brilliant in some respects.  Some of the jokes and comedy bits were outstanding.  And the film, even though its premise was an unwanted pregnancy, actually taught quite a good message about love and living with our mistakes.   I just felt the movie was sabotaged by a bunch of gratuitous profanity and vulgarity.   And I’m a firm believer that anything gratuitous takes away from a movie, even if it’s gratuitous  happy stuff.

So, this was one of the points of our blog in the first place.  I don’t think all profanity is the same.  The words might be the same, but context has so much to do with how offensive it is, in my opinion.