Rated: PG for some rude humor. Reviewed by: Frank Release date: December 25, 2012 Released by: Twentieth Century Fox
Parental Guidance is being promoted by AARP probably because it deals with grandparents played by Billy Crystal and Bette Midler, it also promotes the reconciliation of family from the grandparents to the gradkids.
The comedy which comes mostly from Crystal who is a minor league baseball announcer who calls himself DeVoice, shows his logo as it appears on his car number plate and on his hat. The job he loves is suddenly taken away because he is too old fashion for the owners of the team.
Loss of the job weighs heavy on him but the opportunity to visit and care for his three grandchildren for a week, which he is forced to do by wife Midler, fills in his time and brings the early comedy in the story.
Opening on Christmas Day it will follow the Barbra Stresand, Seth Rogen comedy about the relationship between mother and son which is another family relationship which can be filled with comedy. The competition could limit the success of each as Stresand and Midler battle for box office success.
The kids in Parental Guidance, Bailee Madison, Joshua Rush and Kyle Harrison Breitkopf find themselves in a very modern home filled with electronic gadgets which announce who is entering the building, when to eat, what is coming from the oven, when to leave for school or work and when to get up. The kids are also on a modern plan which never allows the parents to say a child is wrong in words or behavior.
That is a set up for the two older folks who had different ideas when they parented their daughter Marisa Tomei who must be remembered for her tap tap foot in My Cousin Vinney. She wants her kids to find fulfillment in their school work particularly her oldest daughter who has some skill with the violin, which she practices constantly. One boy has an imaginary friend who tells him what to do and the other has a significant stutter.
While the parents are away everything goes wrong and as expected becomes right after many comical situations and events. The great baseball call of Bobby Thompson's home run in the playoff game between the Dodgers and Giants fills the sound track and we see the historical play on old black and white spliced film as Crystal works to help the kids believe in themselves.