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Movie Choices for Kids - Fun Size, Chasing Mavericks

October 30, 2012 12:54 pm
Written by: Jean Joachim

Fun Size (Approx. running time: approx. 90 minutes)
Rated PG-13 Starring Victoria Justice, Chelsea Handler, Thomas Mann, Johnny Knoxville

This movie had the potential to be a fun movie for families but got waylaid along the way. Wren (Justice) finally has the attention of the hottest boy in her high school who invites her to his Halloween party. Her mother (Handler), a widow, runs off to a party with a younger man who spent the night. She is the worst role model I've seen in a movie in a long time.  Her mom, dressed as Brittney Spears and behaving badly, dumps her younger son on Wren.

While escorting her younger brother through the crowded streets of Cleveland, trick-or-treating, the little boy gets lost. Wren is panicked. Her best friend, an annoying social climber, tries to convince Wren to go to the party and not worry about it, but Wren is too responsible. She finds a nerdy guy she's been friendly with for years and they all drive off searching for the lost child.

The movie gets derailed here via a series of contrived events. The kid wanders off to a convenience store and makes friends with the cashier, another nerdy guy named Fuzzy. Fuzzy decides to get revenge on his former girlfriend for breaking up with him and schlepps the kid along. The plot gets very convoluted here and meaningless people do stupid things. There are humorous references to Fuzzy taking a child he doesn't know off in a car, which I found inappropriate.  There are sexual references and one scene of touching. The movie gets maudlin about the death of Wren's dad. I was disappointed in this movie, which I hoped would be a worthwhile comedy. There were too many bad messages and moronic behaviors here even though there was a solid story buried somewhere underneath all the contrived garbage. Don't waste your time. If your kids insist, take kids 12 and over. But find something better to do, like watching paint dry.

CHASING MAVERICKS (Approximate running time: 101 minutes)
Rated PG-13 Starring Jonny Weston, Gerard Butler, Elizabeth Shue

This film is based on the true story of Jay Moriarty, a champion surfer. The film builds a heartfelt story of a 16-year-old boy driven to face the biggest surfing challenge imaginable to make up for the mess the rest of his life is.

The film begins when his father, whom we never meet, leaves Jay (Weston) and his mom. Jay becomes friendly with his neighbor, Frosty (Butler). Frosty is often surfing huge waves when he's supposed to be working. He's married with two kids but finds being responsible isn't easy. Frosty and Jay form a bond as Frosty teaches Jay everything he needs to know to survive surfing a maverick.

I loved the messages in this movie, how parents aren't perfect and life is hard sometimes, but you have to continue being disciplined and working toward achieving your personal goals anyway. There are some drug-dealing and alcohol references, a little bad language and no sexual scenes. The photography of the surfing is fantastic! There is a sad epilogue to this story that might not make it right for a sensitive child. Otherwise, it should be good for kids 11 and up and adults as well. I enjoyed it.



Fun Size (Approx. running time: approx. 90 minutes)
Rated PG-13 Starring Victoria Justice, Chelsea Handler, Thomas Mann, Johnny Knoxville

This movie had the potential to be a fun movie for families but got waylaid along the way. Wren (Justice) finally has the attention of the hottest boy in her high school who invites her to his Halloween party. Her mother (Handler), a widow, runs off to a party with a younger man who spent the night. She is the worst role model I've seen in a movie in a long time.  Her mom, dressed as Brittney Spears and behaving badly, dumps her younger son on Wren.

While escorting her younger brother through the crowded streets of Cleveland, trick-or-treating, the little boy gets lost. Wren is panicked. Her best friend, an annoying social climber, tries to convince Wren to go to the party and not worry about it, but Wren is too responsible. She finds a nerdy guy she's been friendly with for years and they all drive off searching for the lost child.

The movie gets derailed here via a series of contrived events. The kid wanders off to a convenience store and makes friends with the cashier, another nerdy guy named Fuzzy. Fuzzy decides to get revenge on his former girlfriend for breaking up with him and schlepps the kid along. The plot gets very convoluted here and meaningless people do stupid things. There are humorous references to Fuzzy taking a child he doesn't know off in a car, which I found inappropriate.  There are sexual references and one scene of touching. The movie gets maudlin about the death of Wren's dad. I was disappointed in this movie, which I hoped would be a worthwhile comedy. There were too many bad messages and moronic behaviors here even though there was a solid story buried somewhere underneath all the contrived garbage. Don't waste your time. If your kids insist, take kids 12 and over. But find something better to do, like watching paint dry.

CHASING MAVERICKS (Approximate running time: 101 minutes)
Rated PG-13 Starring Jonny Weston, Gerard Butler, Elizabeth Shue

This film is based on the true story of Jay Moriarty, a champion surfer. The film builds a heartfelt story of a 16-year-old boy driven to face the biggest surfing challenge imaginable to make up for the mess the rest of his life is.

The film begins when his father, whom we never meet, leaves Jay (Weston) and his mom. Jay becomes friendly with his neighbor, Frosty (Butler). Frosty is often surfing huge waves when he's supposed to be working. He's married with two kids but finds being responsible isn't easy. Frosty and Jay form a bond as Frosty teaches Jay everything he needs to know to survive surfing a maverick.

I loved the messages in this movie, how parents aren't perfect and life is hard sometimes, but you have to continue being disciplined and working toward achieving your personal goals anyway. There are some drug-dealing and alcohol references, a little bad language and no sexual scenes. The photography of the surfing is fantastic! There is a sad epilogue to this story that might not make it right for a sensitive child. Otherwise, it should be good for kids 11 and up and adults as well. I enjoyed it.


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