Artie and Diane agree to look after their three grandkids when their type-A helicopter parents need to leave town for work. Problems arise when the kids' 21st-century behavior collides with Artie and Diane's old-school methods.
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 Dianes old school methods of tough rules, lots of love and old-fashioned games, its learning to bend and not holding your ground that binds a family together Written by
Twentieth Century Fox
A generic McFamily movie but grandpa Billy Crystal steals the show
"Parental Guidance" is meant to be a comedy on the generational gap in parenting techniques but Billy Crystal completely steals the movie with his smooth and silky talking. Billy Crystal, acknowledging that he is the attraction of the senior crowd, embodies the fuddled grandpa trying to understand the softness of the suburban life but at the same time vying for his youth. As clichéd as "use your words" has become of modern parenting, Billy Crystal is the one who uses his words expertly and elevates the movie from being another generic family movie.
In regards to the modern methods of parenting techniques, there are two opposites of parenting presented: first, the red haired Russian shrieking "practice, practice, practice" method; and second, the soft version of baseball where no-one given out method intended so that there is no ugly competition and just good clean fun. The first type is deemed to produce uptight children and the second type deemed to produce stuttering, diffident children or children with imaginary friends. So, it is up to the grandparents to come in to the picture and sort this out. The solution of course, you might have guessed, fun in its various forms; feel good but not a real answer or revelation.
Without Billy Crystal, this movie would probably end up like every other movie in the same mold; the shrieking screaming kids running around in a McMansion with busy stressed out parents with one hand managing the kids and with the other hand managing their jobs; the parents desperately in need a change to solve their problems. Throughout the movie, Billy Crystal is relaxed and smooth talking and first provides the calmness to the dizzying hyperactivity of the family and then sparkle with his comedy to take us through the predictable second half.
Overall, it's a generic family movie but elevated by Billy Crystal. However, it's still a movie bogged down by its uninspired family dynamics.
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