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When I read the reviews by the "experts" online I didn't want to see
this movie. However, my three granddaughters 16, 13 and 10 insisted
they wanted to see it on the recommendation from some friends. I am
happy they did. It was much better than the professional reviews led me
to believe. I would recommend that any parent or grandparent, as in my
case, take take their kids to see this movie.
I will say this about the expert reviews, they helped give us excellent seats. Sometimes I wonder if they have lost touch with what movie goers want to see. They have gotten to wrapped up in the technique of the art to be able to recognize a good movie. Maybe the courses on movie making should modify their guidelines to include what the general public considers a good movie.
This was an excellent family movie, had plenty of laughs and some really heartwarming moments. Billy Crystal and Bette Midler made a great pairing, I don't know why it hadn't been done before. Crystal brings his great acerbic wit combined with Midler's warm demeanor and the great comedic timing of both makes for gold medal hilarity. Marisa Tomei is great as a new-age parent with high anxiety when it comes to allowing her parents into her automated life. Bailee Madison is a little fireball, and she is one to keep an eye on. With her innate acting ability she will have you on the edge of tears one moment and laughing till you pee the next. Madison is an absolute joy to watch and it was great to see her paired up with classic comedic talent like Crystal and Midler. The writing is fair, but luckily with such a well-placed cast you hardly notice those short-comings. This is definitely one I would take the whole family to, it's got enough for all to enjoy. I highly recommend it for the holiday season, it will have you walking out with a smile.
Parental Guidance is a pretty decent family comedy about bridging the
generation gap, and the process of re-building relationships that have
been neglected for a very long time.
It is obvious to me that neither Billy Crystal or Bette Midler get too many good movie roles nowadays, and I think you can clearly see their joy at being back in the limelight in starring roles. They deliver strong performances and have great timing, and it is a pity that the source material is so weak to begin with. The basic plot is okay with me, but some of the comedy is far-fetched and grandchild Barker's bizarre behavior is used as an excuse for comedy too many times.
I liked a couple of scenes, which deal with the pressure of constantly keeping up with the technological advances of this day and age, with Artie losing his job because he doesn't tweet or know what an app is. This is a very relevant issue and unfortunately it is lightly dealt with.
All in all, the plot is thoroughly predictable and the points the movie wishes to make are obvious to all without any hint of subtlety, but the strong acting performances saves it from being a train wreck.
My expectations weren't that high and Parental Guidance failed to meet
Bette Midler got the very few good lines, but other than that I was in turns bored or irritated. Bored because Billy Crystal never shuts up when he's on-screen. Irritated because I fail to see how bratty kids are funny. It's just an old, tired cliché from every sitcom from the last forty years.
Especially annoying was Marisa Tomei's helicopter-mother character. It was a cartoon character with no redeeming qualities.
I found myself wishing I sneak into whatever was playing next door.
Alice Simmons (Marisa Tomei) is somewhat estranged from her parents
(Billy Crystal, Bette Midler). When her husband Phil (Tom Everett
Scott)'s work takes them away, she's forced to ask her parents to look
after her kids (Bailee Madison, Joshua Rush, Kyle Harrison Breitkopf).
I like Billy Crystal and Bette Midler. I like their chemistry. I like their 'old fashion' ways. But some really stupid scenes destroy any chance this movie had. Grumpy Billy Crystal has some funny moments. Bette Midler is likable as the peacemaker. But by the middle of the movie, they just piled on one too many ridiculous premise to accept, and the movie falls apart.
... the suits who fired Billy Crystal at the beginning would have
tasted some bad karma at the end.
But everything in between was pitch-perfect - a tremendously accurate (if only slightly over-the-top) portrayal of multi-generational families, their dynamics, and the outcomes that can occur when folks empty their pockets of defense-mechanisms.
The plot is simple: grandparents Billy Crystal and Bette Midler (the "other" grandparents) babysit while their daughter and son-in-law go on a long-overdue mini-vacation, leaving their three intensely over-supervised children in the care of Bette and Billy, who don't much care for that type of hyper-parenting.
The delight of watching this movie is seeing how such a conventional plot will unfold with this superb cast. With humor consisting of both good writing and sight gags, with Bette and Billy and Marissa acting their hearts out, this is B-movie material brought to the top-tier in these very capable hands.
This is a wonderful confection of a movie. Go! And, for those of us from Northern California, it was great to see the San Francisco Giants play a fun supporting role. A pleasant surprise.
A smooth Bette Midler and a even more smoother Billy Crystal try to
take you attention of their faces for a few moments in Parental
Guidance where they play Grandparents who have to look after their
grandchildren when the parents go off for a few days business holiday.
Crystal is a broadcaster who has been fired for being old hat and comes up with corny one liners. Marisa Tomei is the helicopter mother who hovers over her kids to almost to the point of suffocation and at turns spoiling them. She is rather apprehensive about leaving her children with her parents and for a lot of the film refuses to join her husband who has gone on the trip before her.
The kids of varying ages are spoilt brats who simply have not had much fun in their lives and have issues. One having an imaginary kangaroo, other having communication issues with the daughter about to enter puberty and not enjoying her music with the constant practise and no social life.
However the film comes across as a sit com style clichéd family relationship film you have many times before. The kids get hyper by eating sugary food, getting into scrapes much to the irritation of their parents.
However hen watching this movie you do actually wonder if Midler and Crystal are actually Tomei's parents as she is so uptight it seems someone else must have raised her. In that case why were they invited to look after her kids?
The film gives you a few brief laughs but mostly will leave you bored because of the familiarity of the story. Maybe the screenplay needed a face-lift more than its two stars.
"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.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
My expectations were high considering this movie had three major actors
all of which are noted for comedic roles. My enthusiasm dropped within
the first 15 minutes and only nosedived thereafter. It didn't take long
to notice how considerably bad Bette Midler, Billy Crystal and Marisa
Tomei's acting was in this overly drawn out and boring movie.
All actors seemed to to lack talent and struggled through lines. There were no moments I could honestly state were funny. It was mediocre at best. There seemed to be a huge disconnect between characters and the plot was not only unoriginal but had no deeming qualities. Marisa Tomei had an appearance of being tired or worn out which is quite the opposite from her usually bright and peppy self. I loved watching a lot of Bette's past performances but she definitely didn't shine in this role. There was a huge lack of enthusiasm reflected by the actors and it was obvious they missed many comedic punches. The entire movie lacked direction and the few lines that were somewhat funny seemed forced. Some of the elements of this movie I found to be degrading toward the adults and children alike. I would compare this to a thrown together made for television movie not a movie worthy for the big screen. It is a low grade movie at best.
The kids in this movie were cute although considered a bit irksome by other adults watching this movie with me. The only part I felt drawn to was when the one son conflicted with bullying due to his stuttering had the courage to overcome his awkwardness to publicly express himself. The entire scenario relating to the imaginary kangaroo friend of the youngest boy was utterly ridiculous.
I am confused to who is actually the targeted audience. I couldn't recommend as a movie an adult would find interesting or a family type movie but this film might appeal on some level to young children. For those that haven't seen this movie but still are compelled to do so should rent not buy a DVD.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Artie and Diane Decker are old-school grandparents who rarely get to
see their grandkids until their daughter Alice, desperate for a
babysitter so she can attend an award function with husband Phil, call
them to help out. Perfect timing. Artie was just let go from his dream
job of announcing minor league baseball for not being up with the
times, like what's his favorite angry bird, and just wants to get
another announcing job to feel useful again. These kids need a lot more
than babysitting. Harper is a tween/mini-adult over-practicing her
violin and harboring a crush on a boy. Turner has stuttering and
bullying issues but goes to a speech class that seems to teach you not
to speak but to be Marcel Marceau (I'm sure having a last name as a
first name, like the other kids, doesn't help, either). And Barker, the
ginger terror of the three, calls Artie "Artie Fartie" and lets his
imaginary friend, an invisible kangaroo named Carl, boss him around,
like peeing anywhere except in a toilet (how this kid doesn't get
punished more often is beyond me). Alice and Phil came from the school
of time outs, letting them eat any breakfast or dinner they want as
long as there's no sweets involved, and no kid loses at sports. Artie
and Diane try to follow through these new-fangled rules of discipline,
despite Alice being a helicopter parent over her parents and kids, but
eventually the grandparents show Phil. and especially Alice that: 1)
kids need to be kids but, 2) letting kids self-express their obnoxious
behavior is not acceptable in public EVER, 3) all a stuttering kid
really needs is a dose of self-esteem (and to imitate sports
announcers), 4) that ice cream IN MODERATION will not kill kids, 5)
that it's okay for kids to have a social life beyond practicing musical
instruments, 6) that imaginary friends are highly overrated (sorry, but
I was sooo thrilled that Carl was "killed"), and 7) "using your words"
is just plain bullcrap.
Billy Crystal and Bette Midler work great together as Artie and Diane. They're the real draw of this film. You really emphasize with their situation. Makes you wonder how Alice got so uptight in the first place. My roommate and I went to a sneak peek of PARENTAL GUIDANCE back in December. This film is not one of those Oscar-worthy films that gets shoved into theaters at the end of the year, but if your looking for a family film to watch with the kids, this might be what you looking for.
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