Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Parental Guidance

Synopsis: It's all on in old vs new, traditional vs new age, as Artie & Diane find out how parenting is so different now compared to when they were bringing up a family many many years ago. After hastily agreeing to mind their 3 grandchildren whilst daughter Alice attends a conference with husband Phil, they soon learn the hard way how times have radically changed when it comes to dealing with kids these days!

So, Billy, here's the pitch... Our careers are not what they used to be, we're getting near retirement. The moneys good... How bad can it be ???

I'll be honest, when I first knew I had to write a review of this film, my initial thought was this: The temptation to be very frank about it's obvious shortcomings (In my eyes) was er, very tempting!  Or, maybe I should be more restrained? Shy away from being too negative and focus on the good aspects of this movie? Hmmm. And double hmmm. The dilemma of it all. Perhaps the best overall indications came from those in my audience who chuckled pretty heartily all the way through. More than a few were amused with the various antics and scenarios offered onscreen. Workmate 1 (Married with children) found it funny, workmate 2 (Single young guy) wasn't quite as charitable - but conceded how those with kids would be more predisposed to this kinda fare!

Although the first time pairing of Bette Midler & Billy Crystal is surprising in that it has taken this long to get them onscreen together, the chemistry is obvious between them. Mores the pity then, that they didn't do this earlier in their careers when they could have been more risque with this slight material. Twenty to thirty years ago, they would have injected much more earthy types of humour for which both were famed for prior to where they are now. Working with what they have in front of them, they try their best to inject as much personality as they can into making the characters alive, and funny. They do try hard, I'll grant them that. You do warm to the obnoxious little bratty 3 kids by the end of the movie, but lately, I've seen much better child actors in TV series than on the big screen. It's hard to critique Marisa Tomei & Tom Everett-Scott due to the fact they are really not in this movie, both barely registering any tangible presence at all. Hope the pay was acceptable guys, 'cause you clearly didn't do this gig for the $$$!!! (although you can put on your CV's: worked with Billy Crystal & Bette Midler. In the same movie! Woo-hoo! Er, no. No no no no NO!). Not the smartest move, but hey - Hollywood has plenty of other similar stories.

If you're a family person looking for easy-going, family orientated humour, that is not in the least offensive, something you can take both the grandparents & pre-teens along together, then Parental Guidance will provide you with 104 minutes of undemanding viewing. In this day and age, that's a rare thing indeed.

Kids. They ain't what they use to be like!

Jamie's rating?

J for... Job! ( I have to be fair, I compared Parental Guidance to other similar movies and it stands up ok. Can't compare it to a critically acclaimed title because it never pretends to be anything else but a good clean family comedy that will entertain some of you. The rest of you can read between my lines!)

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