Parental Guidance
Entertainment: +3
Acceptability: +3

FILM SYNOPSIS: Not surprising, Billy Crystal and Bette Midler give hilarious performances as grandparents, Artie and Diane Decker. They travel cross-country to babysit their grandchildren for their daughter Alice (Marisa Tomei) and her husband Phil (Tom Everett Scott). While Artie dreads the visit, Diane can’t contain her excitement about having the three children all to themselves. Their anticipation of fun quickly dissipates as Diane and Artie discover that their daughter’s helicopter hovering style of child rearing clashes with their laid-back, old-fashioned traditions. High-tech gadgets monitor every exit and entrance, emit alarms for every misstep detected and bark orders correcting any attempt to adjust settings. Organized play dates are carefully planned, with no unsupervised activity.

PREVIEW REVIEW: Sometimes laughter really is the best medicine. Yes, these characters and situations are exaggerated, but also you just might see a bit of yourself. What you do with that insight is all up to you.

Parental Guidance addresses three generations, grandparents, parents and children. It also reminds us to loosen up on insisting “our way” is better, whether in parenting, eating habits or personal interests. Diane fixes snacks of cookies and ice cream instead of yogurt and raw vegetables, causing the children to rebel against their mother’s really boring menus. A frustrated retired baseball commentator, Artie introduces his shy, withdrawn grandson to the world of baseball and creates mayhem at his little league games. Instead of winners and losers, runs and outs, the watered-down game of these little leaguers avoids any mention of losing. How can children learn the importance of good sportsmanship and the rewards of becoming a better player? Rebellious at first, the three children find it difficult not to like these strangers called grandparents.

Alice’s resentment of her parents turns to trust when she realizes the children have opened up to Artie and Diane about their dreams, insecurities and interests. Sometimes an outsider has a better perspective on a situation. Alice has some issues too about control, which have created family tension. Concerned about her parents’ lack of discipline, the modern mom tries to cancel the much-needed vacation with her husband.

Parental Guidance is a welcome addition to the very few family-friendly movies of recent times. Except for some crude potty humor, there is no offensive content such as violence, nudity or sex. It is well worth the price of admission and 104 minutes of your time.

Preview Reviewer: Mary Draughon
Distributor: Chernin Entertainment

Crude Language: Some potty humor
Obscene Language: None
Profanity: None
Violence: None
Sexual Intercourse: None
Nudity: None
Homosexual Conduct: None
Sexually Suggestive Action/Dialog: None
Drug Abuse: None
Other: It’s all about relationships across 3 generations and trust
Running Time: 104 minutes
Intended Audience: Family

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