Parental Guidance


Director: Andy Fickman
Writer: Lisa Addario and Joe Syracuse
Released: December 2012
Starring: Billy Crystal, Bette Midler, Marisa Tomei, Tom Everett, Scott Bailee, Madison Kyle, Harrison Breitkopf, Joshua Rush

Previously titled Us & Them, this is a whole-heartedly, all-American family film. Therefore, you will either laugh from beginning to end, or you won’t be able to avoid cringing at the cheese.

I personally enjoyed Parental Guidance – I could appreciate the family-fun.

It’s about grandparents Artie and Dianne (Billy Crystal and Bette Midler). Artie has just lost the job he loves because he’s too ‘old-school’ and not up to date with social media.

Drayton: We’re looking for guys who Tweet.
Artie: I’ll tweet, I make any kind of noise you want.

With him being in a depressed state, Dianne accepts their daughter’s plea for them to babysit their grandchildren at short notice. Dianne is keen to be more involved in her daughter’s and grandchildren’s lives, while Artie is preoccupied with chasing his dream to broadcast.


Diane: You know what we are? We’re the OTHER grandparents.
Artie: Well we can’t be all four.

Comedy ensues as they learn how they are to treat their grandchildren – they are never to say ‘no’, feed them sugar, or have winners and losers in sports games.


Eager to please, they try to help with their grandchildren’s problems – Harper’s (Bailee Madison) ‘high achievement syndrome’, Turner’s (Joshua Rush) stutter, and Barker’s (Kyle Harrison Breitkopf) imaginary kangaroo friend Carl.


Barker: You should’ve used your exit shoes.
Artie: My what?
Barker: Exit shoes, to walk away and not use a red voice.
Artie: And a red voice is…?
Barker: Super-mad sounding. You shouldn’t use it… That’s why you have a cool toolbox. It’s where you keep your cool blue voice, your exit shoes and your repair squares.
Artie: …All right, so I am taking a repair square out of my cool toolbox to say in my blue voice, that I am sorry.

But their more relaxed and traditional parenting techniques are not encouraged by their daughter Alice (Marisa Tomei).

Alice: For instance, where you would say “No”… we would say, “Consider the consequences.” Or where you would say, “Don’t”… we would say, “Maybe you should try this.” Or where you would say… “Quit your whining, you’re giving me a headache”… we would say, “Use your words.”

I personally found a lot of parts funny, mostly thanks to Billie Crystal’s sarcastic comments. But found the older grandchild Harper irritating because the actor overacted tremendously.

While not getting a brilliant reception, I think it’s a perfectly entertaining family film. No swearing, no offending, just an overly-sweet and cheesy  movie!

Jodie’s rating: 6/10

About NZ Film Freak

I am a journalism graduate (2014) from New Zealand. Currently working in marketing, and writing fiction in my spare time. I love to write about movies on this blog when I can. I also do paid reviews and voiceovers via Fiverr (nzfilmfreak).
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