Parental Guidance

Directed by Andy Fickman. With Billy Crystal, Bette Midler, Marisa Tomei, Tom Everett Scott, Bailee Madison

A funny after-menopause flick? Hmmm...
by gaRis (@takisgaris)

Here’s the legit turkey that somehow escaped thanksgiving table to land stridently on Christmas dinner table. For all its box office success ($60M), sorry but Parental Guidance (guess what; rated PG) plainly makes me sad about its aged protagonists, namely perennial Oscars host Billy Crystal and vibrant comedienne-singer Bette Midler. As if the trite factor wasn’t enough to make me feel like free falling already 20 minutes in, I had to endure the agony on Marisa Tomei’s face, thinking whatever happened to those nitty- gritty roles of her glorious past (I’m not referencing My Cousin Vinny obviously) such as Before the Devil Knows you’re Dead and The Wrestler. I mean, think for a minute, Marisa-milf- Tomei in THE PG movie, seriously bro?

So there you have a supposedly funny after-menopause flick minding the inter-generational gap between family ties, where a have-been famous couple of boomers (Billy Crystal &Bette Midler) will stand-in for their only control-freakish of a parent- daughter (Marisa Tomei) while she and her smart house appliances of an inventor-husband (Tom Everett Scott) will be out on a romantic escapade away from their overachieving (Bailee Madison), wimpy (Joshua Rush) and outlandishly dorky (Kyle Harrison Breitkopf) new age style –raised children. The alarmingly disastrous result of this Catch 22 family reunion should be downright hilarious, given the comedic talent signed on. Well, betcha it ain’t, and look no further; Andy Fickman, helmer of such painfully dreary fare as She’s the Man and (The Rock’s vehicle) The Game Plan, doesn’t even take the pain to protect Crystal from soaking into infantile third-age embarrassment, this being either a barrage of one-liner stinkers or gross-out excrement humour of a pretty-low denominator. No, Farellis, you are not alone in this any longer.

Conclusion: Do I have to even mention that it all ends well, with everyone magically learning to blend in without holding its own ground, in kinda - sorta a (literally) home run. This must be of the eighth wonder pedigree, for I found it impossible to find any trace of living characterization underneath tons of cheesy gags, a score that was apparently embezzled from a soppy family drama like Dolphin Tale. If you really wanna get your parents to the theater, go see Amour (lmfao). Otherwise you are in for a big let- down, witnessing Crystal losing his shtick. I need to put this bummer quickly to oblivion before writing him off, almost wishing that the Academy excludes him from hosting the Oscars ever again. (Go, Seth McFarlane, GO!)

World Premiere: 25 December 2012

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