Parental Guidance (2012) – Review

1 1/2 Stars

Billy Crystal brings his snarky quips to the family film genre and is mostly successful as the aging grandfather of a trio of snotty pre-teens, in Parental Guidance. Continuing a long-standing tradition of Crystal films in which he has a fantastic job, (NBA referee in Forget Paris, talent agent in My Giant) Artie Decker is the radio broadcast voice of a minor league baseball team. He and his wife, Diane are asked to travel to Atlanta and babysit their grandkids for a week. Artie is hesitant, but is eventually persuaded by his wife to make the trip in order to avoid being labeled ‘the other grandparents”. Marisa Tomei, is Artie’s long-suffering daughter, resentful of the care-free attitude they employed when raising her.

As the week-long vacation/visit with his eccentric and spoiled grandchildren precedes, Artie finds himself alienating his family with his irreverent behavior. Further complications ensue when an ESPN hosting job aries, and Artie decides to audition with his youngest grandchild in tow. A very dangerous and publicly embarrassing moment plays out to the horror of Tomei and her impish hubby, Tom Everett Scott. Forcing the younger couple to abandon their trip, and return home to restore order in their household.

Parental Guidance has a great message about conflicting values and methods of parenting from generation to generation. Plus some solid one-liners from the live-wire Billy Crystal, but it is so utterly predictable that we are ahead of the writing all the way. It becomes a flustering game of catch-up. Director Andy Fickman is no stranger to sentimental schmaltz like this, after having crafted nearly a half-dozen flicks that are within the same creative and emotional well. Parental Guidance stutters and sputters to the finish line complete with a few Bette Midler song and dance numbers that stop the film in its tracks. The more adult themed The Guilt Trip is far more involving and laugh driven than this uneven family comedy.

Director: Andy Fickman
Stars: Billy Crystal, Bette Midler, Marisa Tomei

One thought on “Parental Guidance (2012) – Review

  • June 17, 2013 at 5:52 pm

    I did a double feature of this AND The Guilt Trip. So. Much. Jew.

    Also, they both sucked. PG was worse, though, like you mentioned. So predictable, so stupid, and so forced.


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