What distinguishes "Sergeant Pepper" from other Films About Children -- it would be a mistake to call it a Children's Film -- is its deft restraint. Sure, there are thrills like a crazy-inventor dad, a talking dog, a boy who wears a tiger suit every day, and guns. But there are also no digital effects; no toilet, crotch, or fart jokes; only a single treacly line about the innocence of childhood; and smart dialogue from everyone, including the kids. This places it in a league alongside the first three Muppet movies, or the Lemony Snicket books: smart, patient, and, when excitement such as an explosion or kidnapping does happen, all the more pleasurable. You might expect that small children might find a movie with character development and pregnant pauses too slow, but at a crowded Castro screening populated largely by the under-ten set, there weren't more than four or five defections over the course of the film. Not to mention, at the end of the movie there was unanimous applause; and when's the last time you saw that happen at a movie that was either For or About children?