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Old school grandfather Artie (Billy Crystal), who is accustomed to calling the shots, meets his match when he and his eager-to-please wife Diane (Bette Midler) agree to babysit their three grandkids when their type-A helicopter parents (Marisa Tomei, Tom Everett Scott) go away for work. But when 21st century problems collide with Artie and Diane's old school methods of tough rules, lots of love and old-fashioned games, it's learning to bend -- and not holding your ground -- that binds a family together.
Artie (Billy Crystal) and Diane (Bette Midler) realize that they're the "other grandparents"--the ones their three grandkids barely know and dread seeing. So when they have a chance to take care of Harper (Bailee Madison), Turner (Joshua Rush), and Barker (Kyle Harrison Breitkopf), Diane jumps at it, dragging a reluctant Artie along. Naturally, their old-school approach to parenting clashes with the anxious, helicopter-parenting of their daughter Alice (Marisa Tomei) and her husband Phil (Tom Everett Scott). Which will win out? There's really no suspense--contemporary parenting is an easy target and every time Artie complains about how the kids are indulged, random strangers applaud him. However, as Artie's parenting technique yoyos between threats and bribery, movie audiences may find themselves on Alice's side. Parental Guidance is a flimsy movie built around cartoonish kids with cliché problems and jokes about poop and getting hit in the crotch. The plot eventually gets stuck in a mire of nostalgia and vanity (did Midler really have to have a musical number?). But along the way there are moments between kids and grandparents--and between parents and grandparents--that are genuinely sweet. Midler is just coasting through this, but Crystal, who remains a talented and charismatic actor, puts his heart into it. --Bret Fetzer
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The basic premise of Mom and Dad needing a break from the kids, and having to call the out of favor grand parents, kind of reminded me of Uncle Buck as Billy and Bette are a barely known commodity to the kids and definitely not the first choice of their parents to watch them.
The movie focuses on struggles and resolutions. For parents, grandparents and kids. Not always perfect, but real, and well payed by Billy and Bette with a great supporting cast.
Another common theme throughout the movie (and one of the best springboards for Billy Crystal's humor...) was the generation gap. Struggles with a high-tech world that is normal for the kids, but like a foreign land to grandparents.
This movie isn't about a strong story line, it's about laughing your way through the absurdity that is sometimes our lives. The ups and downs of parenting, the wisdom of grandparents, children struggling to grow and the love that binds families amid it all.
If you're looking for a family film with strong comedic laughs, sweet moments with some tears, and a triumphant ending. You'll enjoy Parental Guidance.
The three children are all uptight in some fashion, one stutters, one has an imaginary friend and the oldest plays the violin non-stop. Their parents have good intentions and are bringing the children up their way. Bette and Billy arrive with different methods but they strive to be like their daughter asks.,well, of course, all goes awry, the children are a wonderful time after a few strange episodes. Parents arrive home early, feelings are hurt, but that is OK.
This is a feel good film with lots of gags. Grandparents will love this film, and I urge every single one of them to see ths film.
Recommended. prisrob 04-12-13
As a grandparent, I was prepared for an assault that never developed. I enjoyed the movie. The entire cast worked well together. But I must warn you, there are no car chases, no explosions and no guns. When mentioning this film to my young friends, they shrugged their shoulders and asked why would I ever want to spend money to see this movie? This is a family friendly movie with enough substance to appeal to old and young.