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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.
When Alice (Marisa Tomei) and Phil (Tom Everett Scott) have to leave
town for an influential business trip, they are forced to entrust their
three hellion children to Alice's parents, the equally hellion Artie
(Billy Crystal) and Diane (Bette Midler). Hilarity ensues.
You watch a movie with Billy Crystal to laugh, and he doesn't disappoint. Crystal keeps in tune with the easygoing wit that made his hosting the Oscars so funny. "Parental Guidance" is a return to what made him famous in the first place: nice, funny family-friendly comedy.
Bette Midler is one of the only fairer-sex comediennes that could play opposite the scene-chewing Crystal. They make a great pair, and divvy out the laughs equally as hopelessly inept, secretly genius parents.
The script is written with a focus on the family being an audience, which is not to say the individual or the date can't enjoy it just as much. I was laughing in the first ten minutes, and it kept a steady procession of comical response.
Marisa Tomei is still a stunning beauty. She steals her scenes with unrivaled grace, no matter the movie, and here plays a mom different than her own parents. The comparison makes for a laugh in itself; especially where Crystal and Tomei interact.
There's no smut, no swearing, and no vulgarity. "Parental Guidance" is a refreshing blend of old and new that proves what made the classic laughs so great. Well done.
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.
... 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.
"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.
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.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
First, to Billy Crystal -- I really enjoy watching you in films. But
man, you gotta get a toupee. Your forehead stands out like Mount
Rushmore, and it makes your face look fat. It was distracting. Many
great actors wore or wear toupees, please consider it.
Aside from that, I really enjoyed this film. No, it's not one of the great films of all time, but it's a very pleasant and very funny film. If you're thinking this sounds like something you'd see on the Hallmark Channel...no. It's more sophisticated that that; it's well written. It gets into to difference between parenting from one generation to the next, how families drift apart, and how they can come back together. It also is a commentary on our ever-increasing drift toward electronic living.
The performances here are really very good. Billy Crystal has always had a very pleasant screen persona, and he does here as the grandfather. He plays the role well...very believable. Same for Bette Midler. I'm not a fan of her singing (and she doesn't here), but as a performer and actress I always found her top notch, and she doesn't disappoint in this film. Marisa Tomei provides just the right touch here, as the mother. And in some ways, the film revolves around the issues she had with her parents, how they drifted away, and her conflicts with modern parenting. It's a good and believable performance. Tom Everett Scott, as the father, has the least interesting role here. He does what he needs to do, but doesn't have much of an opportunity to get very deeply into the role. Bailee Madison, as the oldest of the grandchildren is quite remarkable, and I suspect we'll continue to see her on television and the big screen as she matures. Joshua Rush, as the middle grandchild was very good and very believable as a stutterer. I was not impressed with Kyle Harrison Breitkopf as the youngest of the grandchildren. Perhaps it was his role that was annoying...or perhaps it was just his screen persona.
The film is a great advertisement for the city of Atlanta! What a beautiful city and metro area...at least as portrayed here.
So, if you like family films, this one is entertaining, and could appeal to both kids and adults. Recommended!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Billy Crystal is Artie Decker, baseball announcer for 35 years. His
family has patiently moved around with him as he hoped to one day be in
the major leagues. But we find him in California, finishing up the
season with a minor league club.
His long time, patient wife is Bette Midler as Diane Decker, who has had some success as a TV weather girl. Their daughter is Marisa Tomei as Alice Simmons. She lives in Atlanta with her husband, Tom Everett Scott as Phil Simmons. He is an inventor, and will shortly be going to New York to receive an award for his home automation system. They have three children, 12 and younger, played by Bailee Madison, Joshua Rush, and Kyle Harrison Breitkopf.
With this as the background, first we see that Artie is fired right after that last game. He is "old school", they want someone who will appeal to the younger fans. Then we see that Phil wants Alice to go with him to get his award, for a mini-vacation of sorts. But what to do with the kids?
So most of the movie is about the grandparents going to Atlanta to be with the grandkids for a few days. There is a lot of physical comedy and gags, many work and are funny, some are not. But once we get past all that the core of the story is about family.
In one exchange when Alice talks to Artie about her job with ESPN he asks how long she has worked for them. She says "five years." At another point Artie explains how he doesn't feel welcome at her home. It is a commentary on how the two of them, once very close when she was a child, have grown apart. Even with the many issues that arose while the grandparents were minding the kids, the whole thing was a catalyst for mending relationships.
For me this is a better movie than I expected it to be. Part of that is because I genuinely like Crystal and Midler, and at one point they do a very cute duet. But for those who don't care for them, it might not be a good movie experience.
My wife and I both enjoyed it.
After all the success Billy Crystal has had, he's not exactly in dire
need to make movies like he used too, but he has dropped out of the
limelight a bit to say the least aside from some parts here and there.
How did his venture back into movies go? Not bad, not bad at all. This
manages to squeeze all it can out of its two charismatic leads in
Crystal & Bette Midler. The kids themselves do what kids do; they tend
to be spoiled brats on a lot of occasions. I had trouble relating to
any of them except for Barker (Kyle Harrison Breitkopf) It does manage
to have a fair amount of laughs, and watching Crystal & Midler chase
after kids was actually rather fun. Favorite moment of the movie has to
be the cake scene involving the kids. I howled at that one. Billy
Crystal is funny as per usual. His chemistry with Midler is on, and he
had some great lines. Nice to see you back Billy. Bette Midler is
classy and very entertaining to watch, I dug her just as much as
Crystal. Marisa Tomei has aged with grace, and she did well in her
role, despite being slightly unsympathetic at points.
Final Thoughts: It was decent for a family film, and it is innocuous enough for the whole family to watch. Worth a look
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