Movie Review – Parental Guidance

parental_guidance Artie and Diane are your typical set of grandparents, they don’t live near their only daughter Alice (Marisa Tomei) so they don’t spend a lot of time with their grandchildren. Artie Billy Crystal)  has been a sports announcer for decades, he loves it and is great at it while Diane (Bette Midler) used to be a Weathergirl. Their daughter Alice and her husband Phil (Tom Everett Scott) have to travel out of town and need someone to watch the kids. Its very clear that Alice prefers Phil’s parents who spend lots of time with the kids and who Alice adores more than her own parents. When Artie and Diane come to sit the children Harper, Turner and Barker you already know the setup for Parental Guidance.

Harper is the tightly wound tween, Turner is the shy introvert who stutters and gets picked on, Barker is the spoiled whiney kid who clearly got casted based on his hair, who seems to get whatever he wants as part of the new fangled parenting of giving him choices and choosing his words. They live in a smarthouse Phil designed. The premise is that Artie and Diane are over their heads because they are old school but also because Alice is a helicopter mom in stark contrast to how they raised her and would treat their own kids. There’s the typical setups Artie insults Barker’s imaginary friend, Artie gives Turner advice that backfires, Diane and Harper get super close much to Alice’s surprise. Every when Diane tells stories about Artie, Alice seems surprised like she didn’t grow up with this people. There seems to be no real reason why Alice can’t stand her parents other than parenting style. Its the one aspect i really didn’t quite get. Plot device sure but as big of a role as Tomei has in this you had ample opportunities to put it in there. I mean the woman breaks out in a rash at the idea of her parents showing up and has to be psychically pulled apart from them.

Trying to separate mother and child

It get it that its a parenting movie about how raising children differently in different times causes parents to fight. Bout its not like you have 2 extremes, Alice and Phil are on one extreme and Artie and Diane aren’t. Sure Artie is set in his ways, and threatens to spank the children but Diane just wants to be the fun grandma.  There’s some good laughs in this but since Parental Guidance never really even comes to a middle ground on parenting there’s no “life lesson” just a takeaway that Alice is too uptight and wears fugly shoes, while Diane likes to bedazzle everything. Go for the actors you probably love and enjoy 2 out of the 3 children.


Release Date: December 25, 2012
Studio: Walden Media/20th Century Fox
Director: Andy Fickman
MPAA Rating: PG
My Rating: Matinee

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