Parental Guidance

How Family-Friendly are Jason Bourne and Nerve?

by | July 29, 2016 | Comments

Two of this week’s movies — the latest in the Bourne franchise and a thriller for the social media age — are rated PG-13, but how closely do they toe the line of an R rating? Christy lets us know whether either film might be a bit much for younger audiences and covers a couple of choice selections on DVD. Read on for details.



Jason Bourne (2016) 54%

Rating: PG-13, for intense sequences of violence and action, and brief strong language.

I’m actually amazed this got a PG-13 rating. With its violence, rioting, brutal hand-to-hand combat, shootings and killings, it’s just right there on the edge of what you can show in a movie without earning an R. But if you’ve seen the three previous Bourne films, you know what you’re in for; Jason Bourne covers a lot of the same ground. Once again, Matt Damon returns as the title character. At the film’s start, the former assassin is living underground and continuing to put together the pieces of his past and fill in the blanks in his memory. Along the way, he must take out the various shadowy dark-ops guys who are trying to kill him, as well as a highly trained sniper (Vincent Cassel) who has a personal grudge against him. One early sequence takes place during a protest in Athens that quickly escalates into chaos. Bourne also causes a ton of damage on his own through a couple of incredibly tense chases, one of which involves an armored SWAT truck on the crowded Las Vegas strip. There’s also some profanity. I’d say this is OK for kids around 13 and older.

Nerve (2016) 67%

Rating: PG-13, for thematic material involving dangerous and risky behavior, some sexual content, language, drug content, drinking and nudity – all involving teens.

Emma Roberts and Dave Franco co-star in this action thriller about teens playing a dangerous online game of dare. They and many others across the country have signed onto an app called Nerve, in which you can either watch or take part in an increasingly risky series of challenges for money. If you pull out, the consequences are dire. The pranks are harmless at first – embarrassing stuff in public – but become more demanding and possibly deadly depending on what the watchers want the players to do. It doesn’t seem terribly implausible; in this age of Pokémon Go, walking around with your phone and interacting with strangers in wild ways kinda makes sense. But the film grows tense and violent with stunts involving motorcycles, trains, fire, skyscrapers and guns. The lead characters end up in their underwear at a luxury department store and they kiss several times. One bad-girl cheerleader flashes her naked rear end during a football game. And there’s quite a bit of teen partying. Your tweens and young teens will probably want to see it, and that might be OK – provided you explain to them that they should NOT try any of this at home.



Barbershop: The Next Cut (2016) 90%

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

Young teens and older should be fine watching the latest Barbershop movie. It’s been 12 years since the last one, but much of the old gang is back alongside some new characters. Ice Cube, Cedric the Entertainer, Eve, Common, Nicki Minaj, Regina Hall, Anthony Anderson and J.B. Smoove joke around, talk politics and pop culture, and generally create the warm, community vibe we’ve come to know at Calvin’s Barbershop on Chicago’s south side. But director Malcolm D. Lee’s film very much takes place in the real world in which we’ve lived in recent years, and it addresses head-on not only the devastating gang violence that has plagued Chicago but also the racial tensions and shootings that have taken place across the country. Calvin’s son is considering joining a gang and another character dies off-screen in a gang-related shooting. There’s quite a bit of language and sexual humor — some of which is innuendo, some of which is graphic in nature. But the movie is also worthwhile because it balances humor and heart with social and political relevance.

Sing Street (2016) 95%

Rating: PG-13, for hematic elements including strong language and some bullying behavior, a suggestive image, drug material and teen smoking.

This is a great choice for the tweens and teens in your house, especially if they have musical aspirations of their own. The third film from Irish writer-director John Carney has a lot in common with his first two, Once and Begin Again. They all explore the power of music to transform and connect us and to give us an outlet to express our every emotion — but that doesn’t make Carney’s latest any less charming. Set in Dublin in the mid-1980s, Sing Street has some autobiographical underpinnings. It focuses on a 15-year-old fledgling musician (an appealing Ferdia Walsh-Peelo) who forms a band with some other outsiders at his rough public high school in hopes of impressing the beautiful older girl (Lucy Boynton) who lives across the street. There’s a ton of bullying and abuse that goes on here, both from fellow students and the priest who runs the place. There’s also quite a bit of language, arguing, and frank talk about divorce. And pretty much everyone smokes constantly. But the film as a whole is a complete joy to watch, with an infectious energy and an incredible soundtrack of both classic ‘80s songs (Duran Duran, The Cure, The Jam, Hall & Oates) and original tunes.

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