Parental Guidance

I haven’t seen a Bette Midler movie in ages. Same goes for Billy Crystal. Put them both together with Marisa Tomei (who I absolutely love) and I just gotta see it. Parental Guidance was released on December 25th, 2012. Directed by Andy Fickman, the movie stars Crystal & Midler with Tomei as their daughter  and Tom Everett Scott as her husband.

Artie Decker is a long time baseball announcer who gets fired from his job with the Fresno Grizzlies baseball team because he is not up on new technology and doesn’t know how to use it. Artie is disappointed because he loved the job as he loves the sport and despite the fact that his dream was to one day announce for the Giants. He tells his loving & devoted wife Diane about it. This is when their high strung daughter Alice Simmons and her successful husband, Phil, want to go on a business-related vacation for a few days but can’t find anyone to take care of their kids – 12 year-old Harper, 9 year-old Turner, and 5 year-old Barker. Alice is convinced by Phil and reluctantly asks her father Artie and mother Diane for their help. Not having spent much time with the kids, Diane forces Artie to pack their bags and go stay in Atlanta for a few days and bond with their grandkids. The house & cars are fully automated with the a new interactie AI system that Phil, who is up for an award, has created himself.

Artie tells the kids to call him Artie and never “Grandpa”. He is quickly nicknamed Fartie by Barker, who is defiant and cheeky.  Artie is initially uncomfortable as the kids are treated differently by his daughter & her husband and Artie & Diane are old fashioned. The rest of the movie is the two of them having to adjust to being a hands-on grandparents for the first time. Harper, is very tense due to her preparation for an upcoming violin audition. She is invited to a party by a boy she likes and all her friends are going but she has to practice, as the winner of the audition gets a scholarship. Turner, due to his constant stuttering, is having trouble in school with a bully. So his grandfather encourages him to stand up for himself. Turner thinks he means getting into a fight, which results in Turner getting a black eye. Artie meanwhile does not like the speech therapist’s style and mocks her methods. He also is being distracted by the possibility of finding a new job with ESPN, the network that employs his daughter, and manages to get himself an on the job interview at the latest X-Games. Artie makes a spectacle of himself at a skateboard competition as he took Barker along (instead of dropping the kid at a daycare) and during the games, the little boy decides to pee on the ramp causing a skater to crash. Someone tapes the video of the incident which goes on Youtube.

However the good natured couple manages to bond with the kids slowly; when Diane takes Parker for shopping for an outfit for the party and Artie shares his favourite baseball moment with a recorded announcer’s long session. The 5 of them also play in the rain and are laughing and giggling. However Alice & Phil see the video of Artie & Barker at the skating ramp and rush back home and Alice forbids her daughter from going to the party, which upsets Parker. Father & daughter talk a bit and things get better when at the audition Alice tells Parker that she doesn’t have to play if she doesn’t want to, knowing that her daughter is being pressured to do so and they mend their differences. As the family is about to leave the hall, Turner gets on stage and does a passionate, word for word recital of Artie’s favourite baseball moment – without a single stutter. Yes there are some really cheesy family moments which will bring tears to ….nobody by the cheese loving few! Artie gets a job with a pee wee baseball league, which he had earlier caused a scene at for not keeping score and not having winning / losing teams. Alice gets close to her parents again and the kids have a wonderful bond with their grandparents.

Funniest thing about the movie is 5 year old Barker’s imaginary friend Carl the Kangaroo and the death of the kangaroo when a friendly Chinese restaurant owner “hits” the imaginary friend with his car. The family have a funeral for Carl as well, where the only one crying is the Chinese restaurant owner, who “loved” Carl! Funny with some really hilarious stuff here and there and yeah cheesy as hell but how can you not like Billy Crystal & Bette Midler together. I like this movie, fuck the negative reviews from the critics. 7.5 outta 10 from me!

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