Cast: Billy Crudup, Kate Hudson, Patrick Fugit, Frances McDormand
Sex, drugs, and rock and roll. In this coming-of-age movie, 15-year-old William lands a dream assignment from Rolling Stone to tour with his favorite rock band, and discovers bittersweet pleasures on the road.
What Parents Like: Lines like: "These people are not your friends," from a seasoned rock critic warning William. William's fiercely protective mom has far simpler orders: "Don't take drugs!"
Pucker Up: As couples go, Crudup is a groovin' guitarist and Hudson is a wise and wild-child groupie.
A Room with a View
Cast: Helena Bonham Carter, Julian Sands, Daniel Day-Lewis
A straitlaced young lady gets a chance to let down her hair on a vacation in Florence. Bonham Carter plays the flustered Botticelli beauty with just the right amount of quiver: Will she choose the romantic and free-spirited George or the prim and priggish Cecil?
What Parents Like: The Tuscan countryside beckons and blooms in sharp contrast to well-mannered Edwardian England.
Pucker Up: The impetuous George steals our hearts when he says of his rival: "He's the sort who can't know anyone intimately, least of all a woman. He doesn't know what a woman is. He wants you as a possession, something to look at, like a painting or an ivory box. Something to own and to display. He doesn't want you to be real, and to think and to live. He doesn't love you."
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon
Cast: Yun-Fat Chow, Michelle Yeoh, Zhang Ziyi
A stolen sword is at the heart of this epic drama, which plays out against a western Chinese landscape complete with forbidden love, martial arts masters, desert bandits, and a willful young female apprentice.
What Parents Like: There are graceful and gravity-defying fight sequences, accompanied by Yo-Yo Ma's dirgelike cello solos.
Pucker Up: These couples are lovers and fighters, full of power, passion, and restraint.
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
Cast: Jim Carrey, Kate Winslet, Kirsten Dunst, Tom Wilkinson
Carrey is Joel, the depressed protagonist of this surreal and quirky film, who signs up for surgery to have all memories of his ex-girlfriend wiped from his consciousness. Along the way, he has more flashbacks than Timothy Leary.
What Parents Like: It's better to remember a lost love than no love at all. Despite the technical advances, human love -- lopsided and imperfect -- prevails.
Pucker Up: When a patient asks, "Is there any risk of brain damage?" the good doctor tells him, "Well, technically speaking, the operation is brain damage, but on a par with a night of heavy drinking. Nothing you'll miss."
Cast: John Cusack, Iben Hjejle, Jack Black
A music store owner counts down his greatest hits and greatest loves, rattling off his "desert island, all-time, top-five most memorable breakups, in chronological order." Cusack makes an adorable commitment-phobe, even as he spouts music trivia to get over being dumped by his last girlfriend, Laura.
What Parents Like: The dialogue and monologues are witty and quick: "People worry about kids playing with guns, or watching violent videos -- nobody worries about kids listening to thousands, literally thousands of songs about heartbreak, rejection, pain, misery, and loss."
Pucker Up: The only thing more powerful than breaking up is getting back together, and what better way to underscore this point than by showing the loving connections between music and emotion.
50 First Dates
Cast: Adam Sandler, Drew Barrymore
Ever wish you could have your first date again? That's what happens to Sandler, a Maui veterinarian who falls for a local beauty suffering from short-term memory loss. When she wakes up, she has no recollection of who he is or what they mean to each other. To keep their love alive he must woo her anew every day.
What Parents Like: The movie answers the question of "Will you still love me tomorrow?" as Sandler has to devise ways to meet Lucy, and make her fall in love with him again and again.
Pucker Up: Every date with Lucy is a one-night stand. Barrymore is radiant as the blissfully forgetful Lucy.
Cast: Colin Firth, Hugh Grant, Liam Neeson, Emma Thompson
The movie opens with Grant observing the arrivals at Heathrow Airport and remarking, "Love actually is all around." He then finds myriad and marvelous connections between coworkers, bosses, secretaries, a bride and her husband's best man, writers and housekeepers, and yes, even a husband and wife.
What Parents Like: For parents pressed for time, this feel-good film picks up the threads of at least nine love stories. A shining Brit ensemble breathes new life into the songs "Love Is in the Air" and "All I Want for Christmas Is You."
Pucker Up: By movie's end, all the tangled romances are miraculously woven together. As one character remarks, "Life is full of interruptions and complications." And longing -- lots and lots of longing.
Love & Basketball
Cast: Omar Epps, Sanaa Lathan, Dennis Haysbert, Alfre Woodard
Monica and Quincy meet at 11, the boy and tomboy next door. The winning film scores courtside, in both the sports and romance departments, and begs the question, "Can two athletes go one-on-one?"
What Parents Like: The plot gives a realistic picture of what it means to be a high school and college athlete, and highlights Title IX concerns between the sexes.
Pucker Up: Competitiveness fuels the fire between these two. "I'll play you," says Monica, "for your heart."
Out of Sight
Cast: George Clooney, Jennifer Lopez, Ving Rhames
It's a clear-cut case of arrested development when a debonair bank robber makes his getaway, with a feisty Federal marshal in hot pursuit.
What Parents Like: Lopez is no ordinary Daddy's girl. For her birthday, she receives a beautiful Sig-Sauer .380 gun from her dad.
Pucker Up: It's a lock-up. The chemistry between Clooney and Lopez is evident, from the very first time the unlikely couple meet and are locked together in the trunk of a car.
13 Going on 30
Cast: Jennifer Garner, Mark Ruffalo, Judy Greer
It's 1987, and 13-year-old Jenna makes a birthday wish to be "30 and flirty and thriving." Before the magic dust can settle, she finds herself instantly catapulted into 2004, leading a life as a "big-time magazine editor."
What Parents Like: For those of you who ever wondered about the path not taken, search no farther.
Pucker Up: As Jenna reminds her staff, "We need to remember what used to be good." The nostalgic time warp makes a loving beeline for "Love Is a Battlefield," "Thriller," Razzles, and other '80s delights.