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DVD Review: Parental Guidance

March 26, 2013

Parental Guidance Blu-ray CoverParental Guidance – A 20th Century Fox Release

DVD Release Date: March 26th, 2013

Rated G

Running time: 105 minutes

Andy Fickman (dir.)

Lisa Addario (writer)

Joe Syracuse (writer)

Marc Shaiman (music)

Billy Crystal as Artie Decker

Bette Midler as Diane Decker

Marisa Tomei as Alice Simmons

Bailee Madison as Harper Simmons

Joshua Rush as Turner Simmons

Kyle Harrison Breitkopf as Barker Simmons

Our reviews below:


Parental Guidance DVD Review By John C.

*1/2 (out of 4)

When Artie (Billy Crystal) and his wife Diane (Bette Midler) are asked to babysit their three obnoxiously spoiled grandchildren, the overachieving Harper (Bailee Madison), the stuttering Turner (Joshua Rush) and the messed up Barker (Kyle Harrison Breitkopf), they jump at the chance.  But their old school parenting style immediately clashes with that of their uptight daughter (Marisa Tomei) and her husband (Tom Everett Scott).

Filled with pratfalls and baseballs bats to the crotch, Parental Guidance is a slapstick comedy that tries to say something sweet about the way kids interact with their grandparents and has a reasonably nice message, but is ultimately just annoying.  I like Billy Crystal and he does provide a few decent laughs here, but any movie that has him puking on a kid doesn’t earn my recommendation.  Enough said.

The Blu-ray includes commentary with director Andy Fickman and Billy Crystal, deleted scenes and a gag reel as well as some extra material with Billy Crystal, Bette Midler and Marisa Tomei.


Parental Guidance DVD Review By Erin V.

** (out of 4)

When over controlling type-A parents Alice (Marisa Tomei) and Phil (Tom Everett Scott) go away for a week and Alice’s parents Artie (Billy Crystal) and Diane (Bette Midler) come to watch the kids, there is a culture clash of sorts between their oldschool childrearing techniques vs. the prepschool rules and gentle ‘nudging’ towards appropriate responses that Alice and Phil so believe in.  But over the course of the week, the kids actually come out of their shells and it turns out that having the grandparents watch the kids might not be such a bad thing after all.

It’s not offensive, and there’s nothing really bad in it, but unfortunately, the film really doesn’t hold up.  It will perhaps provide some enjoyment on DVD for grandparents to watch with their younger grandkids, but for most of us it will fall flat.  Billy Crystal is the one saving grace though, with his delivery of some of the lines admittedly amusing.  Other than that, the film is pretty middling fair.


Parental Guidance DVD Review By Nicole

**1/2 (out of 4)

Parental Guidance is an entertaining enough family movie, geared towards the 6-12 year old market.  When two ultramodern, type-A parents are going away on a business trip, Mom’s parents Artie (Billy Crystal) and Diane (Bette Midler) get to watch the three kids, Harper (Bailee Madison), Turner (Joshua Rush) and Barker (Kyle Harrison Breitkopf).  While the kids are a bit of a handful at the beginning, their grandparents bring in their own parenting methods, which turn out to be a blessing.

Parental Guidance won’t win any awards, but it is exactly what one would expect, a harmless kids movie that can be enjoyed by kids and grandparents alike.  Despite some brief bathroom humour, there really is no objectionable content.  The movie is in fact charming and sweet overall.


Parental Guidance DVD Review By Maureen

** (out of 4)

Every generation has their own way of doing things.  That’s why most kids love it when Grandma and Grandpa come to stay and the rules get bent a little – or a lot.

In Parental Guidance, uptight and self-esteem protecting parents Alice (Marisa Tomei) and Phil Simmons (Tom Everett Scott) are reluctant to go away together on a trip if it means leaving their three children, twelve-year-old Harper (Bailee Madison), nine-year-old Turner (Joshua Rush) and five-year-old Barker (Kyle Harrison Breitkopf), with less than perfect caregivers.  In desperation, they reluctantly turn to Alice’s parents, sports announcer Artie Decker (Billy Crystal) and his energetic wife Diane (Bette Midler) to come and stay with the kids.

The result is a culture clash of sorts with Artie and Diane breaking just about every rule Alice and Phil set up for their family.  Much of the humour in Parental Guidance borders on juvenile and slapstick (think bathroom humour).  This makes it appealing for the 6-12 year old audience.  For the rest of us, the characters are just annoying at times.  The highlight of the movie is without question Billy Crystal.  His performance is appealing and funny.  Grandpa Artie, it turns out, does know best.

While Parental Guidance is in no way brilliant, there is an underlying sweetness in the relationship between the grandparents and grandkids.  This is one that grandparents and grandkids can enjoy together.  The baseball theme will also appeal to young baseball fans.


Parental Guidance DVD Review By Tony

** (out of 4)

Parental Guidance opens with the longtime voice Artie Decker (Billy Crystal) of the Fresno CA minor league baseball team calling the closing game of the season. Despite his infectious enthusiasm Artie is fired for being out of touch with social media, and goes home humiliated to his wife Diane (Bette Midler).

Meanwhile in Atlanta GA, their only child Alice (Marisa Tomei) lives with her husband Phil (Tom Everett Scott) and three kids in a smart house (sort of like Stark’s Jarvis without the weaponry). They embody all the clichés of hovering parents, from organic sugar-free diets to careful language avoiding any negativity that might threaten self esteem, and of course private schools, since no ambitious U.S. parent would have anything to do with public education.

Their daughter Harper (Bailee Madison) is an overachiever obsessively practising for a violin audition to a top music school. The middle child Turner (Joshua Rush) is a sensitive boy bullied for his stuttering. The youngest boy Barker (Kyle Harrison Breitkopf) is just weird, with his behaviour controlled by an imaginary kangaroo friend. When Phil and Alice have to go away for a week, they reluctantly ask Artie and Diane to watch the kids, leading to the inevitable clashes between trendy and old school parenting that drive the film.

Though it is generally dumb and predictable, Parental Guidance is at least watchable thanks to Billy Crystal, whose wit and charm rise above the sitcom shtik around him. As recent sitter films go, I would rate it somewhat below The Sitter (surprisingly not bad, though admittedly for an adult audience) but way above Fun Size (disgusting for any age). In other words, as a family friendly film, Parental Guidance gets mild recommendation, as long as you wait (not very long) for it to appear in the $5 bins.


Consensus: Although the slapstick humour in Parental Guidance is often quite juvenile and the characters are sometimes annoying, this is a predictably harmless kids movie with a likeable performance from Billy Crystal.  ** (Out of 4)

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