Home > Film Reviews > Parental Guidance

Parental Guidance

Posted by admin on December 29, 2012


Technology will change the way I’ll raise kids. When I was growing up, internet-connected computers didn’t come around in the house until I was in fourth grade. Even then, my way of life was not based computers till midway through high school. You could say that I grew up during the boom of interactive technology. Children today have the privilege of getting to use tablet computers even before they go to preschool. This can lead to plenty of interactive possibilities with the way they learn. I may have had it good, though I still envy the kids of today. I’m excited to see how this will boomerang in the future.

So when the kids get all the gadgets, what will be the parents’ role? It seems like that most of them become helicopter parents, hoping that they take in everything, and strive to make sure they do their best. Ironically though, if the kids do wrong, they take the blame out on everyone else. They have stopped questioning the integrity of their children for the most part. But to fix this, it just may take a little tough love. It’s never pretty, but the sooner they learn, the better. Old parenting ways try to intervene in Parental Guidance.

Older minor league baseball broadcaster Artie Decker (played by Billy Crystal) is happily married to his wife of many years Diane (played by Bette Midler). Everything seems good for them until he is let go, due to corporate restructuring. If things could not get any worse for him, he gets a call from his daughter Alice (played by Marisa Tomei) that they are going away and they need someone to watch the kids. Knowing that they have become the “other” grandparents, Diane sees this as an opportunity to reconnect with the family. They accept the offer and catch the next plane from Fresno to Atlanta.

Upon landing, they realize from the start of the computerized home that their gonna face a little trouble. The house is so advanced that I swear it’s probably run by the HALL 9000 from 2001: A Space Odyssey. If the technology gap wasn’t enough, then the kids are going to be another. Twelve-year-old daughter Harper is obsessed with her violin and is the most uptight child ever, their oldest boy Turner has a stuttering problem and youngest Barker has an imaginary friend that’s a thrill seeker. All of these children are the result of their parents as black hawk helicopter parents. It may be up to these grandparents to lighten up these kids.

The good news is that Parental Guidance has a lot of energy. The bad news is that none of it goes anywhere. The few words to describe this movie are “lack of focus”. For a concept that has a simple story of bringing a family together, it has too much story. It’ll stop at a problem a child his having for a second and then go to another about Artie finding a job.

Speaking of Artie, Billy Crystal has completely misfired. None of his vaudeville jokes work and seem even further out of place then usual. Being that this movie is advertised as a family comedy, the children are probably going to be confused by jokes. The potty jokes don’t help as well as they are too gross even for my standards. This has to be the most disorganized family I’ve seen with the kids acting like adults and vice versa other ways. I wouldn’t mind it, but it’s beyond realistic with what the writers think of how children function. The entire movie felt rushed and unfocused.


I’ll give this one deaths of childhood out of five. This has to be a new career low point for Billy Crystal and Bette Midler. How dare this movie for making them unfunny!