Parental Guidance (2012)

Billy Crystal, Bette Midler, Marisa Tomei, Tom Everett Scott
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.
Parental Guidance is sweet but milquetoast, an inoffensive trifle that's blandly predictable.
  • 20th Century Fox Company:
  • PG Rated:
  • IMDB link IMDB:
  • 25 Dec 2012 Released:
  • 26 Mar 2013 DVD Release:
  • $77.3M Box office:

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Good Family Movie7/10
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.
Nice Family Comedy, You Won't Be Disappointed8/10
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.
Bad source material but decent acting5/10
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.
Great Family Movie8/10
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.
Billy and Bette are lovely, but too many silly scenes5/10
I like Billy Crystal and Bette Midler. I like their chemistry. I like their 'old fashion' ways. But some really stupid scenes really destroy any chance this movie had.

Marisa Tomei plays their child who is forced to ask the old couple to look after their grandchildren. They are somewhat estranged and she is reluctant to ask. However her husband Tom Everett Scott's work is forcing her hand. So the grandparents are stuck with her 3 kids led by Bailee Madison.

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.