Despite the great divide between generations that parents, grandparents and children now face – “Parental Guidance” demonstrates that families are always in high fashion since then and now.
Hollywood’s iconic comedy icons Billy Crystal and Bette Midler are caught between the traditional and modern –of sugars and organic, of yes and no’s, of gadgets and outdoors in helping take care of their three grandchildren while their new-age multitasking daughter Alice played by Marisa Tomei leaves town for a few days.
All three children have problems and none of them wants to behave for their grandparents, which leads to all kinds of trouble, imagine the flying cap screw, dirty kitchen and all the chaos you can think of. The three rather eccentric kids make life as tough as possible for their grandparents. Compounding the challenges for Artie (Crystal) and Diane (Midler), the house is full of modern, futuristic gadgets and technical wizardry they can’t understand. Everything in Alice (Tomei) and Phil’s (Scott) house is fully automated and interactive, which makes life impossible for the technologically challenged Artie.
Moreover, Artie is mystified by each of the kids’ eccentricities. Harper (Bailee Madison), 12, is intense, brainy, and an overachiever who’s so busy with her burgeoning music career, she has no time to be a kid. She’s very tightly wound – almost as much as her mother is. “Harper is uptight and always wants to please her parents,” says Bailee. “She’s conflicted between the world of her parents and grandparents.”
Youngest grandkid Barker (Kyle Harrison Breitkopf), 5, like many children, has an imaginary friend, a kangaroo named Carl. “They say inventing an alter ego is a side of genius,” explains Alice, but Artie sees Carl as yet another reason he should dread his new assignment as babysitter.
Middle child Turner (Joshua Rush), 9, is a good kid saddled with a speech impediment that makes him the target of the school bully. Additionally, when Turner plays a little league baseball game, Artie is astonished by the classic game’s strange new rules. After Turner seemingly strikes out an opposing batter, Artie is filled with pride and overjoyed – until he learns that the teams no longer keep score, and no one is ever out. “You mean, there’s no agony of defeat; just the thrill of a tie!?” a disbelieving Artie exclaims.
An entertaining film for every generation, “Parental Guidance” is unique in that it portrays grandparents as active, funny and relevant. The film is true to life, examining the friction that arises when family members don’t see eye to eye. Riotously entertaining, “Parental Guidance” is full of mishaps, misadventures and broad physical comedy.
“When people leave the theater after watching the film, I hope they say, ‘I know those people; in fact, that’s us,” Crystal says. “Parental Guidance” is going to mean something different for grandparents, parents and children. And I think if you’re doing that, you’re doing something good.”
“Parental Guidance” opens January 16 in theaters nationwide from 20th Century Fox to be distributed by Warner Bros.