When old-school parenting meets new-school parenting, buckle up because it’s going to be a wild ride!!
I’m pretty sure Billy Crystal is funny 24/7. He is great in all the movies I’ve seen him in, and even when you don’t see him, you only hear him (a la “Monsters Inc” and the upcoming “Monsters University”).
Artie Decker (Billy Crystal) loves his job as a minor-league baseball sports announcer. Unfortunately, he’s not with the times (he doesn’t do Facebook, Twitter, or any social networking at all) and he is fired from his job. This gives him and his wife Diane (the also hilarious Bette Midler) the opportunity to watch their grandchildren while their daughter Alice Simmons (Marisa Tomei) and her husband Phil (Tom Everett Scott) go out of town for Phil’s job.
Alice and Phil are very different parents than Diane and Artie. I think the term is “Type-A helicopter parenting”; they don’t tell their kids no, the baseball team their son plays on has no real rules (no three strikes and you’re out), and the kids don’t eat sugar!! No real birthday cakes for them. Harper (Bailee Madison) plays the violin, yet she doesn’t really enjoy the instrument. Turner (Joshua Rush) has a stutter and goes to speech therapy, yet they don’t practice speaking, which baffles Artie. And Barker (Kyle Harrison Breitkopf) is a mischievous little imp who calls his grandpa Fartie (awesome) and has an imaginary pet kangaroo named Carl.
Of course, the clashing of parenting styles along with rascally kids leads to some weird and wild situations, including but not limited to: a blacklight-painted face at the symphony, the kids’ first ice cream cake, and a dead imaginary pet kangaroo.
I read an article that said even though they’ve been friends for 30 years, this is the first time Billy Crystal and Bette Midler have actually worked together. They both gave solid performances in “Parental Guidance”. Apparently the idea from this movie came from Crystal’s real-life experience taking care of his own granddaughters, whose mother gave him and his wife Janice a list of pages and pages of rules for them.
Overall a good family flick, great for the holidays, with many humorous situations and feel-good moments. OH and also Artie sings a song about POOP!!! What could be better than that??