MPAA Rating: PG

Entertainment: +2 1/2

Content: -1

Charming, intelligent, and talented, 11-year old North (Elijah Wood) feels unappreciated by his parents. While he receives academic, athletic and performing honors, his mother and father (Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Jason Alexander) spend their time complaining about their jobs, totally ignoring North. North's mischievous friend Winchell (Mathew McCurley), editor of the school newspaper, concocts a scheme to declare North a "free agent," propelling him on a world-wide search for the "perfect parents." Soon North has become front page material, and hopeful parents finance his travels, hoping he will select them. Assuming various guises, including the Easter bunny, Bruce Willis appears as the voice of reason which guides North through his search. North's travels take him from Texas to Hawaii, to Alaska, Pennsylvania, China, Africa, Paris, and finally New York, as he seeks the perfect parents. Meanwhile, Winchell takes advantage of North's publicity and promotes an uprising of kids threatening to do the same thing unless they get their own way. North's sometimes comical ventures into unknown cultures are punctuated by Winchell's plot to keep North from turning back. Few will find the subject amusing; however, Elijah Wood gives his usual good performance.

The message is somewhat like that of the prodigal son, with a modern twist. As parents all over the world face the threat of their own children rebelling, some overcompensate by spoiling them. In turn, the children are demanding and rude to their parents. Detracting from an underlying positive message about family relationships are the superfluous, mostly crude, expressions. A few crude sexually-suggestive jokes pop up and a highway billboard shows North's bare behind. Natives with obscured frontal nudity and suggestively belly dancing appear briefly. North finds himself dodging bullets, but no injuries occur. Much of the humor comes from the exaggeration of cultural stereotypes, such as the old-fashioned ways of the Amish or heavy smoking and drinking by Parisians. Some might be offended by the ludicrous portrayal of such groups. It's a pity, but NORTH falls a bit south of a plus acceptability rating.

Preview Reviewer: Alice Anderson
Columbia Pictures, 10202 W. Washington Blvd., Culver City, CA 90232

The following categories contain objective listings of film content which contribute to the subjective numeric Content ratings posted to the left and on the Home page.

Crude Language: Many (12) times - Mild 4; Moderate 8

Obscene Language: Once (no f- or s-words)

Profanity: Exclamatory twice

Violence: Many - Moderate (shooting at North)

Sex: None

Nudity: Few times (poster features rear nudity; obscured native frontal nudity)

Sexual Dialogue/Gesture: Few humorous references to intercourse; sensual belly dancing

Drugs: Few times (drinking in bar; cigarette smoking)

Other: Exaggerated cultural stereotypes may be offensive; disrespectful children

Running Time:
Intended Audience: Eight years and older

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