“Parental Guidance”: Movie Review” Nobody makes me laugh like Billy Crystal!


Do you think Billy Crystal is hilarious? Then, go see Parental Guidance. I both laughed and cried during this movie. But, nobody makes me laugh like Billy Crystal. He plays Arte Decker, an over-the-hill baseball announcer, who has been fired for being old and out of touch with the newest generation.  There were some poignant moments in this movie interspersed with all the laughs.

I laughed a lot more than I cried. Bette Midler plays Crystal’s adoring put-together wife (Diane) who sees the chance to babysit their three grandchildren as another opportunity to win their grandchildren’s love. Currently, their photo is pushed aside on the mantle because the “other grandparents” take center stage.

Alice Simmons (Marisa Tomei) is  their only daughter  who is married to Phil Simmons (Tom Everett Scott) he’s handsome, understanding and smart.  He’s a gadget computer guy who’s completely made their house user friendly.  Crystal’s awkwardness around all this stuff felt familiar to me.

Alice and Phil direct the parents on their modern child rearing methods. Use positive reinforcement and don’t ever say no. “We let them ‘use their words and make choices.” says Tomei.

The three kids are adorable, but they have their problems. The oldest girl, Harper, (Bailee Madison)  is too serious,  the middle child, Turner, (Joshua Rush)  has a stutter, and the littlest guy, Barker (Kyle Harrison Breikopf)   has an imaginary friend. They all play straight guys to Billy Crystal. He’s great with them, especially Barker, but there is a moment in the film when Turner steals the movie.
There are a few slap-stick gags that are old, familiar and predictable, but they still work.

Crystal does one scene by himself that I found particularly touching. You’ll have to see the movie because I don’t want to ruin it.

What I was glad to see were all the kids, mostly preteens or early teens,  in the movie theater. A clean-cut movie with no monsters, guns and violence. They seemed to be enjoying it too.

If you’re looking for depth, there isn’t a whole lot in this movie. But, if you’re looking for laughter, you’ll find it here.  And if you’re trying to reconcile your place in the universe, it’s reassuring to know you’re in the same age category as Midler and Crystal.

Do you agree with my review? Comments are welcomed.

 

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A Baby Boomers Take on the Academy Awards


The Academy Awards reminded me of  watching a sitcom.

Best Actress Academy Award

It’s just not the same for me since all the movie stars: Elizabeth Taylor, Paul Newman, James Garner, James Stewart, and the perennial host, Bob Hope aren’t with us anymore.

Billy Crystal did a great job though. He beats out whatever they did last time. I liked Chris Rock’s bit. He’s the only one who made me at least chuckle.  I thought the “Focus Group” on the Wizard of Oz was cute.

Gwyneth Paltrow and Robert Downey did a bit that was almost funny.

Some of the winning was a yawn. Meryl Streep was correct, it was tiresome to watch her win her third academy award. She is a great actor, but there must be some others just as good. (Revision: I just saw Iron Lady she really deserved it! )

“The Artist” winning for best picture seemed contrived to me.  They were applauding creativity and nerve. They couldn’t have been rewarding the trite story.

The best actor category was a disappointment. I think people who say dialogue deserved to win more than the actor from “The Silent Movie.” I was rooting for George Clooney, although he doesn’t need my sympathy!

It was nice that Christopher Plummer won an academy award. I did see the movie and he was great.

I couldn’t help thinking that “The Help” should have gotten more recognition. Nothing new, I guess.

But, I will give it a go next year too. It’s a tradition. But, with my movie stars gone, it’s never going to be the same.

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