Customer Reviews: Parental Guidance [Blu-ray]
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on January 14, 2013
Being an avid fan of Billy Crystal, I eagerly awaited his return to the silver screen. I was not disappointed. Coupled with another veteran actress in Bette Midler (his doting wife), they made we 'older' parents appear archaic with their 'tough love' approach - (didn't all Baby Boomers experience this as children?). The story goes on to explain how they are 'the only' set of grandparents available, to care for their 3 grandchildren, 12, 8 and 5, much to their daughter's reluctance. Their daughter (played by Marissa Tomei) is all about 'new age' parenting and frowns heavily upon any strayings from her teachings. Therefore laying down her set of rules and opening the door to laughter.

Naturally, things are going to go wrong, as Billy and Bette strive to keep the peace and understand their charges. As not only do the 'Oldies' react to each situation in an uninitiated new age-old age way causing havoc, but are also victims to a completely automated house which initially sees them as intruders, much to their grandies delight. PARENTIAL GUIDANCE is a movie worth taking a look at and taking your grandkids to. It's a feel good movie. And without giving away the plot, Billy Crystal plays his usual affable self, who belts out an unexpected Acapella duet with Bette, along with some great co-stars of all ages, who end up loving him in spite of his mistakes.
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on January 3, 2013
***This review may contain spoilers***

The trailers advertising "Parental Guidance" (hereafter PG) were not only unpromising, but borderline appalling. It emphasized the tired, painful slapstick and saccharine sentiment of so many other formulaic family comedies, that I was determined to avoid it. But, visiting my mother and deciding to take in a movie before lunch at Bugaboo Creek Steakhouse, we decided upon PG because it was the only movie that had subject matter my Mom (not particularly keen on hobbits, 40-somethings, or even Lincoln) was interested in. After seeing it, we were pleasantly (if surprisingly) entertained, despite the dilapidated old "Clash of the Generations" plot. Our amusement was largely due to those reliably schticky comedy workhorses Billy Crystal and Bette Midler.

Crystal and Midler play fairly (but not completely) old-fashioned Artie and Diane Decker, parents to Type-A, harried upper-class daughter Alice Decker Simmons (Marisa Tomei). Alice is married to Phil Simmons (Tom Everett Scott) a basically easygoing engineer who, like Rick Moranis's Wayne Szalinski in the "Honey, I.." movies has converted their home into a technological, computerized, self-sustaining "house of tomorrow". Their children are Harper (Bailee Madison), who is as neurotically driven as her mother, Turner (Joshua Rush) her more levelheaded, technologically savvy brother who has a stuttering problem, and certainly not least, the mischievous, irreverent, red-haired Barker (Kyle Harrison Breitkopf) whose best friend is an invisible kangaroo named Carl (not Harvey).

Unlike the paternal grandparents, Artie and Diane have not seen their grandchildren in months, if not years. They are "the other grandparents". But they get a chance to bond with the tykes when Alice and Phil leave for a week for a scientific convention and, somewhat reluctantly, call on the "out-of-it" folks to baby-sit. As they say, hilarity (amazingly) ensues.

Artie and Diane, although sharp and game, have their work cut out for them. Besides the aformentioned baggage (and yuppified names!) each grandchild carries, and the mechanized Jetson-like home, Artie and Diane have to contend with the permissive parenting their charges are used to and their high-maintenance demands (e.g., each kid gets his own meal at suppertime, and Barker doesn't like his food touching other food). Furthermore, Artie is despondent over his firing from his minor league baseball announcer job, and he fears telling Alice. All sorts of slapstick hijicks, misadventures, and misunderstandings ensue. Examples, Artie has to bribe the bratty Barker to do anything, Artie's advice to Turner to stand up to the bullies making fun of his speech impediment gets the kid a shiner - from the bully's sister, the kids get an amped-up "sugar high" from some forbidden birthday cake, Artie protests at a little league baseball game that has no strikes, timeouts, or scoring and gets a bat in the crotch for his troubles, Barker gets indelible day-glo paint on Artie's face just before Harper's violin recital, and of course Artie sneaks off with Barker to an X-Games announcer's interview where Barker's escape and urination ruins an X-games skateboard stunt (and is broadcast nationally) as well as Artie's job prospects. Diane has a confrontation with Harper's demanding, martinet East European violin instructor, calling her "comrade". The comedy of errors keeps on coming.

In the hands of inexperienced actors, PG would be a groan-fest. But in Crystal's and Midler's capable, vaudevillian, borscht-belt hands, they are surprisingly funny. Crystal's cynical comments and one-liners wryly commenting on the insanity of their grandkids' lives, even more than the predictable slapstick, keep the laughs coming, because we agree with their disapproval of the grandkids' overwrought, permissive, but also perfectionist lifestyle. Even so, they love their grandkids and incrementally not only get to know them better, but also to overcome their handicaps and neuroses. At first shocked at Artie's and Diane's interference, Alice gradually gets reconciled to their ways of doing things, and to them as general. In unrealistic but satisfying sitcom fashion, everyone's issues get resolved and everybody's happy.

Yes, PG is unsophisticated and predictable and even a bit low-brow. But Crystal's and Midler's tried-and-true comic personae wring out the laughs and make you feel reasonably good.
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on December 29, 2012
I saw it the other day, and it was so funny, I laughed so much. It really hit home, about being grand parents. I just loved it.
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on February 28, 2013
We were so pleasantly surprised to see how clean and funny this movie was! I don't even know if there was one cuss word in it! We loved it so much we saw it twice at the theater! And just yesterday, when my husband saw it was still there he said, "We could go see Parental Guidance again." Haha! For those who choose movies that are clean and moral, this was one of them! A definite rarity in today's entertainment industry!
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Looking for a light comedy, I rented Parental Guidance because of Bette Midler and Billy Crystal; two of my favorite entertainers. This movie had no sex, no violence and I don't remember a single curse word (not that this is an issue for me... just a nice, unexpected change of pace). A great family film, appropriate for any age.

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.
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on August 9, 2013
This was a great family movie that I watched with my 15 and 9 year old daughters. They both really loved the movie and have watched it several times since then. It's really nice when you can sit down and watch a good "clean" movie and not have to worry about what your kids are going to see or hear.
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on August 2, 2013
Billy Crystal and Bette Midler were great in this film. Anyone over 50 can relate to the modern world of technology and how it can be overwhelming. I laughed thru-out the movie. Enjoyed every minute of it.
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on April 7, 2013
I was pleasantly surprised by this movie. I was born in the late eighties and caught the tail end of Bette Midler and Billy Crystal's established years in the spot light, so I was familiar with their careers and schtick growing up as a kid. The jokes were subtle but funny, and there were times I literally laughed out loud and that says something because I watched this on an iPad with headphones, and usually I'm dead silent. It's a kid movie so you have your pratfalls and kicked in the nuts jokes but it wasn't dumbed down and the the actors delivering their lines are obviously going to make the best out of that material. I didn't watch this movie to roll on the floor laughing, but hey, I feel it was worth the rental. It was sweet, had a good message, and ended on a high note with singing by Bette and Billy that is a good throwback. If your kid is very very young the adult jokes will go over his/her head, which is good sometimes for a giggle or two. I'd say watch this with your 12 year old, have a good laugh, and be entertained.
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Bette Midler and Billy Crystal play grandparents to their daughter's children. Something had gone awry in the relationship between Marisa Tomei, their daughter, and them. They rarely see their grandchildren, but are asked to come for a few days while Marisa and her husband attend an award ceremony.

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
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on May 20, 2013
PARENTAL GUIDANCE seems to have it all with a great cast that includes Billy Crystal, the lively Bette Midler and the gorgeous Marisa Tomei. Unfortunately, these three great talents are lost in a very cliche and predictable script. This story has been done over and over and there is nothing new to make PARENTAL GUIDANCE anything more than a cute little movie without much purpose.

Alice and Phil Simmons have a chance to attend a conference and finally have some alone time away from their three kids. Alice's parents Artie and Diane (Crystal and Midler), are hesitantly asked to fly into town to stay with the three young Simmons kids. It's not clear why Alice has distanced herself from her parents and why babysitting duty seems like a bad idea. Who would love feisty Bette Midler as a grandparent?

The Simmons household is a modern one. They live in a voice-activated home that caters to their every wishes. Inter personal communication is a thing of the past. It's sort of cute for all of 5 minutes and then it just becomes annoying. Phil and Alice are modern parents who live in a world where baseball games are always a draw. There can be no winners and no losers. A kid at bat stays at bat until he makes a hit. No one ever strikes out.
Artie and Diane are old school parents who rebel against this modern parenting.

The predictability is strong that we know what is going to happen when Artie and Diane are told the kids cannot have sugar and cannot watch scary movies. Anyone knows what will happen next along with Artie telling the middle son how to handle a bully. There just is no middle point here. Anyone could guess how this movie will play out so in the end the question is, "what is the point?"

Midler does light up the screen and it seems like she is working hard to shine in a bland script. Cystral just seems tired throughout the film. Even Tomei seems like she would rather be somewhere else. PARENTAL GUIDANCE is pleasant but just so disappointingly predictable. It's not a bad film. It's just not a good film.
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