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.
- Marisa Tomei Talks PARENTAL GUIDANCE, Working with Billy Crystal and the Kids, and More (collider.com)
- Movie Review: Parental Guidance (reellifewithjane.com)
- Crystal, Midler punch up ‘Parental Guidance’ (triblive.com)