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Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Parental Guidance Movie Review

As 2012 draws to a close, it is time to reflect upon the year that has passed. My final review of 2012 is of "Parental Guidance", an alleged comedy directed by Andy Fickman, whose previous directing assignments ("The Game Plan", "She's the Man") lend a clue as to what to expect. In other words, so far Mr. Fickman is tossing out losers with a consistency that is downright scary.

"Parental Guidance" is everything you expect it to be and from the trailer and/or the first five minutes watching it; you already know everything that you need to know. Artie Decker (Billy Crystal) is a baseball announcer for a minor league team. He has been there for a while and his employment is no longer fancied by team management, so he is sent to the showers. Depressed, he heads home to his wife Diane (Bette Midler). The always effervescent Midler will have nothing to do with wallowing and chirps her way through the scenery.

A phone call from their daughter Alice (Marisa Tomei) turns their lives upside-down. Alice and her husband Phil (Tom Everett Scott) need to get out of town and need some grandparent help taking care of their kids. Phil automates everything in his house and could not be more annoying. Alice frenetically runs around the house with her and the kids seemingly choreographed. It's painful to watch and reeks of bad sitcom.
We all know what's coming next. Artie and Diane are going to take over their grandkids lives and be totally rejected. The old coots are out of touch with the little kids and the grandkids let them know it at every turn. But we all know this is just a setup for everyone to discover what is really important. It's all wrapped neatly in a bow and ready to be placed under your Christmas tree.

There are plenty of outstanding Christmas movies. There are loads of bad ones. "Parental Guidance" is so annoying that I hesitate to put it into even the bad category. It is exactly what films should not be. It's cloying, manipulative, insincere, overacted, poorly written, and a sensational waste of time. Let conscience be your guide and please avoid this one.

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