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Movie review: Parental Guidance

Movie review: There are worse ways to spend some time in a movie theater than watching Billy Crystal and Bette Midler in “Parental Guidance.”
BY SANDI DAVIS Modified: December 23, 2012 at 10:52 pm •  Published: December 25, 2012

When Diane forces her daughter to join her husband at the awards ceremony, their old-fashioned games, breaking house rules and their obvious love for each other begin to sway all three children.

There are a lot of scenes with bathroom humor in them, especially one featuring Artie and Barker in a stall in a men's bathroom where the boy can't potty unless a song is involved. Keep this scene in mind because it makes a surprise appearance after the credits.

A game of “Kick the Can” finally brings the Deckers and the Simmons children together as a family, and also starts the final tangle of problems involving a restaurant owner, Artie and Diane, all the Simmons plus Carl, and the police.

Every family has generational problems and always will. The problems at the heart of “Parental Guidance” are the ones between Alice and her parents. Like every parent, at some point they realize their parents weren't as bad as they recall, and maybe they may have some pointers on how to keep a family thriving.

As was said at the beginning of this review, I wanted to like this movie. There were moments of lightness, but for the most part, the shenanigans with the children were contrived and the consequences heavy-handed.

That being said, there are much worse ways to spend some time in a movie theater than watching Crystal and Midler steal every scene they are in. Their duet of “Book of Love” is one to be savored.

This is a movie in which every family member will find something to enjoy, at least for a little while.

— Sandi Davis