Parental Guidance (2012) Poster

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Bad source material but decent acting
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.
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Good Family Movie
avenger44229 December 2012
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.
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Billy and Bette are lovely, but too many silly scenes
SnoopyStyle27 August 2013
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.
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Great Family Movie
Sara Fleischman25 December 2012
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.
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jelly33629 December 2012
My expectations weren't that high and Parental Guidance failed to meet them.

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.
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Family running
Prismark1010 March 2014
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.
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Really, really bad
evening125 December 2012
Warning: Spoilers
I can see how Bette Midler might need a job, but why would Billy Crystal stoop to a role like this?

"Parental Guidance" was grueling to sit through. Whoever came up with the storyline should reconsider his career path.

Maybe it's all right if you're starting out in screen writing and this is a rough first draft, but to dress it up for release over the Christmas weekend? That's highway robbery if not consumer fraud. Counting snacks hawked at our NYC multiplex, my 10-year-old and I got clipped for $37.50!

Odd-couple grandparents spend weekend babysitting obnoxious trio of rug rats while kids' parents try to copulate during rare, out-of-town trip? (Oh, I am just slapping my knee!) As a long-married couple, Crystal and Midler share nothing in common but an obvious reliance on hair dye. Crystal just phones in his lines and the long spotlight-deprived Midler tries way too hard, missing no opportunity to mug for the lens.

And almost every minute spent with the children -- gratingly named Harper, Tucker, and Barker -- is an ordeal. One of the kids stutters and is bullied -- would YOU consider that funny? This film's "writers" apparently did. But I found Kyle Harrison Breitkopf to be the most squirm-worthy grandchild. Calling Grandpa Artie "Fartie" isn't humorous the first time around but we must endure this alleged witticism incessantly. And then there are the urination and defecation gags. Gag me with a spoon!

As if all this weren't bad enough, the film takes time to ridicule the foreign-born. Lovely American actress Rhoda Griffis impersonates a Stalinesque Russian violin teacher, and US-born Gedde Watanabe provides a (albeit slightly entertaining) caricature of a Chinese-restaurant owner.

My pre-adolescent son did actually enjoy this film. I couldn't wait to go home.

Shame on you, Crystal, for lending your heretofore-respectable name to this utter piece of "doody"!
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Would have gotten 10 stars if only . . .
GoUSN30 December 2012
... 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.
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A generic McFamily movie but grandpa Billy Crystal steals the show
MosHr25 December 2012
"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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Truly Awful
IanFarquhar16 March 2013
This is truly one of the most awful pieces of trash ever made.

How do I summarize this? I don't - it's awful.

The plot is utterly predictable, the acting awful, the (otherwise talented) cast horribly misused, and the whole exercise is pointless. On the upside... there simply is no upside. This movie has no redeeming features.

I endured this movie simply because I have never walked out on a movie ever. But it was an act of will power not to walk out on this rubbish.

How this utter bilge could score 5.8 out of 10 brings IMDb's rating system into utter disrepute.
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Completely Delightful - Great Insight into the Reality of Parenting!
ArthurVanDam126 December 2012
Parental Guidance is a completely delightful movie. Truth be told, I am a Big Marisa Tomei fan, but I don't believe that influenced my view of this very enjoyable movie.

That being said, Billy Crystal and Bette Midler rock too. There' a lot to this story, more than one might think. Alice Simmons (Marisa Tomei) and her hubby Phil (Tom Everett Scott) are ultra-Type A parents, who strive to raise their kids perfectly. They impart all sorts of touchy-feely, loving and encouraging words and phraseology on their 3 children. Who are adorable by the way.

Phil has to attend a company off-site in Hilton Head and wants Alice to join him. She says yes. In need of babysitters, they finally resort to Marisa's parents - Diane Decker (Bette Midler) and Artie Decker (Billy Crystal). As you might expect all is upside down from moment one. When they enter Simmons' house, the mantle is adorned with photos of Phil's parents with the grandchildren. This resonated with me big-time because my three children are much closer to my former in-laws than they are to my parents. Ah. . . such is life.

Simmons' eldest, teen Harper Madison (Bailee Madison - she also appeared in Just Go With It with Jennifer Aniston and Adam Sandler) is sweet! Turner Simmons (Joshua Rush) gives a sterling rendition of the "Shot Heard 'Round the World" (New York Giants vs. Brooklyn Dodgers - 1951 World Series) and younger brother Barker (Kyle Harrison Breitkopf) has an imaginary invisible Kangaroo friend Carl (ala Jimmy Stewart's Harvey)... What struck me about this movie is the reality of it. It's about the grades children give their parents and the mistakes parents think they made when raising their kids. Artie Decker sums it up nicely when he's speaking with Alice, "You didn't come with instructions." Ain't that the truth.

My parents tried hard I believe, but they left their marks in some ways. I try to be a good parent to my three children and no doubt have left my marks. But in the end and throughout, I LOVE my children and try to let them be who they are and encourage them to find themselves and their way. If nothing else, the point is we all try. Parents aren't as bad as their kids claim. Kids love their parents, despite their kicking and screaming. The generations old tug-of-war continues. And parenting is a combination of art and science. See this movie! While you're at it, keep your eye on Bailee Madison. And maybe Marisa Tomei too!

Arthur VanDam, film critic and author
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Good family movie
teresachrist-47-69896422 December 2012
Warning: Spoilers
I thought the movie was a commentary on the present child-rearing methods that is so common today-- push your kids to excel-- feed them only fruits and vegetables-- let them express themselves, etc. It also seemed like it was about the changes of life we all will face in the future-- retirement, and finding a new purpose in our life; but it was a little more than that. Even though the basic storyline seemed a little formulaic, I thought it had a good message-- relax, don't take life so seriously, and have fun. There was good chemistry between Billy Crystal and Bette Midler. Billy Crystal is still very funny. It was comical to see the reactions of his character, Artie, as he encounters the grandson's speech therapist, and the baseball game where his grandson pitches ("there are no 'outs'"... "every game is a tie"). Billy Crystal made the movie more entertaining-- I wish they would have shown him more.
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"Parental Guidance" is outstanding!
mdreser26 December 2012
Warning: Spoilers
We laughed so hard, so often, my sides hurt. The laughter was eventually followed by the most poignant moment, which literally brought tears. I respect this movie because every character is given dignity and care. They were a kindly family with real love for each other. There was meaning and pertinence to the dialog (even during the hilarious airport security check). A few bits may be a tad 'hammy', yet they support the meaning.

Story lines like this may seem banal to some--but this movie touches real life, real people. There are certain longings and yearnings we feel towards 'family'. The storyline brought these to the forefront. And myself being a grandparent, I have felt those yearnings in my own life.

Billy and Bette were perfect for grandparents. Tom and Marisa are a pleasant, believably decent couple. The story has plenty of surprise twists. The dialog has a far deeper message than might be noticed through the laughter. It speaks to our ethos as a country. It speaks to our values, similarities and our differences, our foibles and faults, and to our virtues. Then asks us to think about what we truly want for our children, or for our grandchildren.

Which is to say, the real deciding factor in enjoying this movie is whether or not the story speaks to the individual. It helps to have something in common with the characters and the story. I have very much in common -- so I loved it! And I'm going back to see it again tomorrow – taking my daughter and her four grown kids!!
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Avoid at all costs
keithbiz1 January 2013
Some reviewers have clicked the button to warn readers that their review may contain spoilers. How can you spoil this movie? The only thing that spoiled it for me was that the theater in which I viewed it had very loud sound so I was unable to get to sleep.

The premise of the movie, as is so often the case, is that love will conquer all. This is a love that is conjured at the flick of a phone call. Grandparents and grandkids hate each other (Guys, guys, I've a great idea... let's call the grandfather Arty so that the rascal kid can call him Farty, guffaw) but within instants of arrival the grandparents are hooked on their grandkids. And, of course, by the end, they have attained mystical healing powers so that, despite their total incompetence, the family is whole and wonderful by the time the credits roll.

It's not funny, it's not clever, it's not watchable. It is Farty.
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Some Laughs, some chuckles and some tears
dave-347725 December 2012
This is a good movie, probably not a great Oscar nomination candidate, but it has some genuinely funny moments along with some warm family moments.

Over all I thought that it could have been worse; the characters portrayed by Crystal & Midler are introduced to the audience in contrasting views. Crystal is introduced as a long-time sportscaster that has refused to keep up with technology; as a result of his either lack of interest in technology or unwillingness to move out of the mid- 20th century era he faces being left behind.

Midler's character is first introduced either as a very odd-ball home aerobics instructor, or an out-of-work adult dancer trying to keep in shape along with some friends. As the film proceeds to unveil their past histories, some small amount of light is shed on why this type of introduction for both characters was used.

Marisa Tomei, as their daughter Alice and Tom Everett Scott as Alice's husband have their characters introduced to us as a stressed-out, 21st century parental trend following and yet loving couple; it is obvious from the get-go that they both love each other and their three, slightly flawed but highly strung, children.

All of this information is laid out for us within the first 21 minutes of this 104 minute film; the remaining 84 minutes are dedicated to sight gags, comedy stitch, several warm & fuzzy scenes and the obligatory "AHAA MOMENT" for the entire cast. I am not going to spoil the end for anyone; but if you don't see this one coming, I will forward you the number of my Optometrist.

I gave this film 8 out of 10 and I am being honest here; it is a good film for the family containing very few objectionable moments and a lot of "....hmmmm, I think I have done that same thing a time or two...." scenes.

Take your family to see this one, I believe you will enjoy it.
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Totally bad from beginning to end
rogerdob25 December 2012
It is quite amazing that two great comedy talents like Billy Crystal and Bette Mitler would partake in this quite badly directed movie. Nothing felt real, logical, or authentic. All the comedy scenes were forced and quite unbelievable...people do not act that way or do things that way. The supporting players, especially Marisa Tomei, were annoying, All three kids were extremely bad actors. Tom Everett Sckott added nothing to the film.I laughed, and/or smiled only about three times during the entire movie. This is truly a situation where I would like to say "Shame on you, Billy Crystal and Bette Mitler, for doing this bomb!"
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End of an Era
brodsky_donna-19 April 2013
Warning: Spoilers
I am a fan of Billy Crystal, Bette Midler and Marisa Tomei, so when I saw all three were in this movie, I grabbed it off the shelf at Blockbuster. I had heard it received some bad reviews but thought, with those three stars, how awful could it be? It was really awful. The kids call Billy Crystal "Fartie" instead of Artie and the rest of humor hovered merely inches above facile. The set-up -- old school meets modern technology -- is a tired premise that should have been retired long before this movie was made. Billy and Bette were irritating and the kids -- who are usually cute and cuddly in this type of movie -- were not even likable; like their forced laughs at Billy Crystal's jokes, they too were pretentious and precocious. Unfortunately, that was part of the humor. This is the first time I have ever not found Billy Crystal (or Bette Midler) funny or Marisa Tomei an unsympathetic character. I cannot believe that Lowell Gantz and Babaloo Mandell gave this script a final polish. Does that mean they are losing their grip too? Frankly, the three stars should have turned this movie down. I lasted about 20 minutes, then bailed. Is this the end of an era for Billy and Bette?
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Another vapid "preteen" flick
goomeee29 March 2013
Marisa Tomei is my age and a bit old to be a parent of such young kids, though she still is hot for a cougar.

Same old bathroom jokes in this movie though the request by another stall dweller for Crystal to continue his song caused me a chuckle, that's about it.

The scene of a man getting hit in his reproductive organ by a child with a bat is not funny, done a million times, and should not be acceptable in a kids movie. Reverse the genders sometime and see just how funny this is to you.

There are better kid's movies out there.
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Hated it from the first five minutes
doverichter5 January 2013
This movie starts with Crystal's character calling a minor league baseball game. There is a "kiss cam." The man is proposing to his girlfriend. The camera zooms in on an attractive couple. Suddenly the young man spins in his seat and holds the ring out to a less attractive, larger woman. Crystal's character starts talking about how ugly she is and wraps up with something about love being blind and so is this young man.

There were no surprises in this movie. No real fun just schmaltz and clichéd story vehicles, ie: kids are smarter than adults, imaginary friends and a bratty kid that sprays his grandfather's pants with a squirtgun so that it looks as though he wet himself.

People walked out of the theater, and I wish I had, too.
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Do kids want to see a movie about adults fighting about being right (ALL the time)?
twilliams769 January 2013
The family-friendly PG-rating for the film Parental Guidance has made this movie even more perplexing for me to understand. I should point-out and clarify to all prospective Parental Guidance audience members that the film does deserve its rating and there is nothing within its runtime that is offensive or age-inappropriate for someone over the ages of five or six.

My personal problem with Parental Guidance after sitting through it is that I have NO idea for/towards whom the film is marketed! There are several children in the film's cast and I am betting they are also expected to comprise a large portion of the theatrical audience as well. If children could possibly enjoy what they are going to see on screen here I wouldn't be stumped by the film's offerings. As is, Parental Guidance is a movie about parents and those parents' parents always assuming their parenting style is the correct one.

Parental Guidance becomes an exhausting "I'm Right You're Wrong" multi-generational drama billed as a comedy. It is written for laughs but the situation(s) in the film and the lead characters all become trying and tiring as every situation or squabble escalates because someone is ALWAYS right and will not acknowledge possibly being wrong.

Grandpa Artie (Billy Crystal - City Slickers, When Harry Met Sally) believes his parenting skills are just fine as he raised successful daughter Alice (Marisa Tomei - My Cousin Vinny, The Wrestler) who believes she is the superior parent because she is in tune with the kids, has read some books written by some child behavioral professionals, and she speaks calmly. While the family does love each other, the never-ending disdain for another's opinion (no matter how well-reasoned etc) and complete lack of respect shown to anybody else in the entire house wears down the viewer! Grandma (Bette Midler - Beaches, First Wives Club) is also loud and opinionated and the kids'father (Tom Everett Scott - That Thing You Do!, One True Thing) is rarely around as him being sent away on business is what set the entire film's premise up to begin with!

While the adults all come across as people who believe they have the answer(s) to everything (they are pretty-much unlikeable), the kids belong to them and ARE all brats (unbelievably so at times!). It is too bad I could not report that they are cinematic angels; but alas ...

Again -- I don't know who this film has been made for although it does make me very glad to be able to call my family my own.
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Spoilers Galore
agape363615 January 2013
Warning: Spoilers
This is a great movie if you like: *pole dancing grandmas *a song about bowel movements *a child urinating on a skateboard ramp *vomitting onto a person *very unflattering closeups of aging actresses *a brat who calls his grandpa "Fartie".

Billy Crystal is so much better than this material.

The only reason I gave it even 2 stars was because it effectively portrayed the shallowness of the no winners/no losers sports, success driven parenting, empty therapy, etc.

It's possible that someone Billy Crystal's age could have a daughter Marisa Tomei's age. And it's possible that someone 48 years old could have a preschooler. And it's possible that she would be married to someone 6 years younger than herself.

But frankly, it's a real stretch to believe that Bette Midler and Marisa Tomei knew how unflattering the crystal clear quality of the film was going to age them.
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Billy Crystal is brilliant!
dbroncos5925 December 2012
I was very hesitant at first going by the trailers for this film, but my family wanted to see it for Christmas so I attended. I'm glad I did. I found myself thinking a lot throughout the film that it seemed familiar in what I see in my family.

Billy Crystal is hilarious as is Bette Midler! I haven't seen much of Tom Scott since Dead Man on Campus, but he plays his role really well. Marisa Tomei was great too but the hilarious acting of my personal favorite character, Gedde Watanabe, will have most in tears!

Overall, it's a great family feel good movie. The comedy is for the most part original, yet so simple for laughs. I'm not big on reviews, but I feel this movie really deserved one. It's just brilliantly written in every aspect!
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Up to expectations, and better
vintagegal324 December 2012
Warning: Spoilers
"Parental Guidance" is a hilarious movie.

Unlike films like "Ted" or "Up," this movie makes every scene funny in some way, instead of only a few parts that are funny. For example, one time the grandpa (Billy Crystal) goes into a public bathroom with his grandson and starts singing a song (to help Barker go to the bathroom) and randomly, one of the strangers in the bathroom asks, "Can you keep singing that song?"

The plot of grandparents who have no idea what is going on, and kids taking advantage of that, really caught my eye.

Barker is very, very funny with the grandpa, and their relationship is great. This is the first starring role for actor Kyle Breitkopf and he is magnificent.

Overall I give this a rating of 9.3. This movie lived up to its expectations and did better. You definitely should watch this movie. It is hilarious.

"Parental Guidance" is a hilarious movie.
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Bette & Billy Still Got It In "Parental Guidance"
BreakawayDaily21 March 2013
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.

Cute, sometimes smart, sometimes gross family fun film. It started out a lot more intelligent at the beginning then turned into a more generic movie that you have seen a thousand times. I liked how they brought in the new technical world (smart house, email, twitter, facebook) and wish the filmmakers would have focused on that a bit more. It was so funny when Crystal's character doesn't know what his boss is referring to when he mentions "hash tagging" and "poking." The funniest parts were one of the kids wanting to watch the "Saw" films, the tofu and the almond milk!

7/10 (Good)

Breakaway Daily
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A home run! :-)
maryhayworth31 December 2012
Finally! A movie worth seeing!!! Great casting, great story line and great acting. Very real and very emotional! I love the message in the movie! Parents, relax! I believe Dr. Kevin Leman has been trying to drive this point home for many years now. Go see this movie! Take the kids, take the grandparents, the parents and friends. This is a warm your heart movie and every bit worth the money!!! A note to Hollywood! These are the type of films we want to see! We want to laugh and we want to cry! We don't want mind control and brutality movies anymore! Let's see a change in 2013, make movies to encourage people to do their best and most of all show love. In this economy some of us are struggling, but still would like to see a movie now and then, we will dig deep and spend money on films like this!
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