Parental Guidance – Movie Review

 “If you EVER speak to my Granddaughter like that again..There will be nothing left of you but some red hair and an accent… Is that clear comrade?”                                               – Diane Decker


So, my first review will be about the new Billy Crystal and Bette Midler movie, Parental Guidance. This film follows Artie Decker (Crystal) and Diane Decker (Midler) as they watch their grandchildren when their daughter (Marisa Tomei) and her husband must leave for five days. Just from watching the trailer, you can tell exactly where this film will go: generations clash as Crystal and Midler try to take care of their grandchildren, becoming closer to them over the course of the movie. Parental Guidance follows this formula religiously, making it exactly what you expect going into it.

Despite its predictability, the movie does have some redeeming qualities. One comes in the form of Billy Crystal, who plays his part with near-perfect comedic timing. His moments are by far the best in the movie, and without him, I don’t think the movie would have been near as entertaining. Some of his scenes are great, and I will look forward to any of his future comedic endeavors. Midler also plays her part well enough and holds her own, even if her performance doesn’t quite match up to her male counterpart’s. Another thing I liked was that the three child actors in this movie didn’t annoy me. With a tween girl, a stuttering child, and a litter ginger hellion, you’d think these kids would ruin the movie, but I can only think of one or two parts that really bothered me. In fact, the children’s moments with their grandparents were actually funny and touching.  This leads me to the other great aspect of this comedy: its heart. I didn’t expect to feel the way this movie made me feel, especially in the last 20 minutes. Anyone who has a family will be able to relate to at least one of the characters in this film, making for some pretty great moments between the various members of this family.

Now for the bad. The first thing I noticed  near the beginning of this movie was some really bad overacting, specifically on the part of Tomei. The first several times she spoke  were just awkward for me to watch because of it. I think that most of the scenes involving her and her husband could have been trimmed, if not cut out of the film completely. This would have left more time for  sequences with Crystal and Midler to have been extended, since these were the best parts in the movie. Another issue I noticed was that a lot of the jokes in this movie fell flat. There were far too many moments in this film when nobody in the theater laughed at jokes that were clearly SUPPOSED to be funny, but just weren’t. Since this movie is intended to be a comedy, this is a huge flaw that really drags the movie down. There were also a few attempts at slapstick humor in this movie that some younger kids laughed at, but I don’t think most people over the age of 12 were too amused by these.

With this being said, I acknowledge that this movie is rated PG and is about a middle aged couple trying to connect with their grandkids. I’m definitely not the target demographic for this movie, so the fact that there was some fun to be had in it for me says a lot. I imagine the audience this movie was intended for might like it a bit more, but I don’t know that it would make a significant difference.

THE VERDICT: Rental Worthy

I really wanted to cut this movie some slack since I know that it is a PG-rated comedy and families might like it more than I did, but I still feel like this movie was very average and, in the end, forgettable. It’s exactly what you think it will be, and if you are a parent and want to take your whole family to a movie, I would say there are better movies to spend your money on (like Monsters Inc. 3D, also with Billy Crystal).

What did you think of my review? Do you agree? Disagree? I’d like to know, so comment or send me a quick email to fill me in. Either way, thank you for reading my review and check out my blog in the future for more reviews on movies and various other things.

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