¨You gotta shape up Artie! You know what grandparenting is? A second chance! ¨
To be honest I knew I wasn’t going to like this movie before going to see it and didn’t expect much from it. I decided to go so I could spend some time with my family, and I knew it was a film my parents and younger brother would enjoy (and they did). This is a very family friendly film with several cheesy moments. This is also entirely predictable and the plot is one you could see over and over again in any sitcom on TV if you wanted to. The film was directed by Andy Fickman (Game Plan and Race to Witch Mountain) and if you’ve seen any of his previous movies then you kind of know what to expect. You either enjoy these types of movies or you don’t since the style and jokes are pretty similar. The film had some sweet and intentionally emotional moments, but it really failed to connect with me. Billy Crystal hasn’t made a lot of movies in the past decade and I know he is really funny, but this just wasn’t the right film for him. There is not much I can say really about the rest of the cast since they didn’t have much to work with considering they all played clichéd characters. Parental Guidance is a film that some might enjoy, but the truth of the matter is that you will forget all about it a few hours after you leave the cinema. It won’t stick with you and you won’t get anything out of it either, which is pretty sad considering the film tries to be a sort of social commentary as how differently we raise our kids in today’s society.
Artie (Billy Crystal) has been working as a baseball commentator for a minor league baseball team for several decades and is happily married to Diane (Bette Midler). His life dream has always been to be the announcer of the San Francisco Giants, but when he’s fired from the little leagues for being old school he is brought down to reality. They receive a call from their daughter Alice (Marisa Tomei) who wants them to babysit her three kids while she and her husband Phil (Tom Everett Scott) go on a work vacation trip. Artie and Diane don’t really see their grandkids much so they accept the challenge. The kids aren’t really thrilled about having their grandparents over since they have been raised in a very different way, and the truth of the matter is that Alice is really worried about leaving them with her parents (apparently she feels that they didn’t do a good job raising her) as well. Harper (Bailee Madison) is the oldest, a violin perfectionist, then there is Turner (Joshua Rush) who is taking voice lessons, and finally there is Barker (Kyle Harrison), the youngest who has an imaginary kangaroo friend named Karl. Artie and Diane’s methods of parenting don’t seem to connect with the way the kids have been raised by their type-A parents and things are about to get really interesting.
This family friendly film is really light hearted and doesn’t seem to take sides here as to which is the correct form to raise kids, because as Billy Crystal’s character says ¨being a parent doesn’t come with instructions.¨ The film makes fun of both extremes of parenting. There are some emotional moments, especially near the end of the film where Alice and Artie have a conversation about the way he raised her and why she has become so estranged towards them. No answer is really provided. The grandparents made several mistakes but in the end they did help out the kids a lot, but it seems that there was some sort of issue between Artie and Alice that never really got resolved. There are several funny moments involving the kids, but I really didn’t find it very amusing. I think Bailee Madison is one of the cutest child actresses and the rest of the kids were also all very cute. This is a light film that some kids and adults will enjoy, but like I said before it’s nothing groundbreaking at all and you will forget all about it as soon as it’s over.