‘Parental Guidance’ needs a time out on Blu-ray
New to DVD and Blu-ray from Fox Home Entertainment is the newest comedy from the director of “The Game Plan” and “She’s the Man” Andy Fickman, Parental Guidance. The film stars Billy Crystal and Bette Midler as grandparents put into action as babysitters for the grandkids they barely know and clashing with the parenting decisions and direction of their daughter and her husband. The film is aimed at same crowd who enjoyed the “Meet the Parents” series, but does it pack as much laughs as the first “Meet the Parents” had?
Parental Guidance Blu-ray
Starring: Billy Crystal, Bette Midler, Marisa Tomei, Tom Everett Scott, Bailee Madison, Joshua Rush and Kyle Harrison Breitkopf
Written by Lisa Addario and Joe Syracuse
Directed by Andy Fickman
Old-school grandparents Artie (Crystal) and Diane (Midler) get more than they bargained for when they get stuck babysitting their type-A daughter Alice’s (Tomei) three overprotected kids. But things go from hectic to hysterical when Artie and Dianne realize the kids are running the house with newfangled technology, created by the family patriarch Phil (Scott), that they have no idea how to use . To make matter worse Artie has lost his decades old job in favor of a newer and younger replacement. But playing by his rules, which include sugary snacks, old fashioned games and tough love, Artie manages to outsmart the kids and he and Diane endear themselves to the children they long to spend more time with.
Parental Guidance features a simple fish out of water plot that has been used time and time again and offers little new to add to it. The script seems to be either molded to Crystal’s liking or written specifically with him in mind as it plays into his obsession with baseball by making Artie a baseball radio play by play man. The baseball theme is played out throughout the film, with Artie even using an old baseball call as a motivational speech for one of his Grandkids. The scrip incorporates a granddaughter that is a high strung as her mother, a middle grandson with a speech impediment and the youngest grandson is out wildly out of control with an imaginary kangaroo as a friend. But of course in a movie like this you can be rest assured that all the problems will be solved by the end.
Crystal’s Artie should seem very familiar, his family bound poor man’s Woody Allen schtick has barely changed since his 1991’s City Slickers, and he sticks to form throughout the film. Able to produce only a handful of genuine laughs along the way, the majority of his performance is stale and tired. Midler seems to be phoning it in here as she rarely changes tone from the exasperated and flustered Bette we have seen many times before. Tomei and Scott don’t fare much better either. In fact the film would likely verge on disastrous if not for the endearing and engaging young actors playing the Grandkids. Baille Madison has a natural charisma beyond her age translates effortlessly on screen and how much Rush and Breitkopf goof off and fool around they still retain a level of charm.
The Blu-ray is stocked with special features as it features an audio commentary from Crystal and director Fickman. Also included is a gag reel of blunders and flubs, deleted scenes that are no funnier than what is included in the feature and an ‘In Character’ featurette with Crystal, Midler and Tomei discussing filming and their characters.
Parental Guidance is a very tried and true formulaic film that we have seen come out of Hollywood many times over. The film packs a mere handful of laugh out loud moments throughout it yet contains some talented youngsters that manage to carry the film through, but that is not near enough to raise this stinker out of the muck.
1 out of 5
Till Next Time
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