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Parental Guidance

Parental Guidance

Released 26 December 2012
Director Andy Fickman

Billy Crystal, Bette Midler, Marisa Tomei, Tom Everett Scott, Bailee Madison, Joshua Rush, Kyle Harrison Breitkopf
Writer(s) Lisa Addario, Joe Syracuse

Peter Chernin, Billy Crystal, Samantha Sprecher
Origin United States
Running Time 105 minutes
Genre Comedy
Rating G

Family time.

There are one or two – or six – played out every year. The holiday family fun madness of tried and tested formula that goes down a treat on a lazy Christmas afternoon. You know the films, ones you don't really care one iota about but exactly the kind of light-hearted caper you want on the telly to supplement the comatose state that has ensued from a bout of overeating. Well, Parental Guidance is this year's release of such nature and, while I wouldn't recommend it for a viewing on the big screen, in a few year's time it'll serve as an appropriate film for said gorb fest.

Seasoned Hollywood campaigners Billy Crystal and Bette Midler unite as the grandparents who have been charged with the task of minding their grandchildren for a few days while the lucky folks are off gallivanting for some much-needed alone time. Artie and Diane are the “other” grandparents, the ones who rarely see their family and thus the relationship starts off under rocky foundations. I bet you have no idea what will happen next? Yes, the journey is tempestuous but eventually all ends well for some typical festive cheer.

The jokes, almost all of which are as cliche as you can muster, come thick and fast as Crystal and Midler attempt to rise above what is a samey script and played out storyline. There are many laughs and equally as many tears – and that's just the audience who is subjected to this barrage of content – but to be fair the two lead anchors must be applauded for trying their best to bring some life into the picture.

It is a shame that there wasn't a little more originality used but when is there ever with these kind of movies? Somebody, somewhere initiated this process and the safe formula has rarely been deviated from since. Producers know it will sell during this period, and getting in Crystal and Midler, who is doing her first comedy film for years, will tempt those of an older generation in too. Parental Guidance is inoffensive but you'll forget about it just about as soon as you step outside the door.

- David Caulfield