Parental Guidance FeaturedWritten by Jon Patch
20th Century Fox, Chernin Entertainment and Walden Media present a PG, 104 minute, comedy, directed by Andy Fickman, written by Lisa Addario and Joe Syracuse with a theater release date of December 25, 2012.
Artie Decker (Billy Crystal) has been the announcer for the Grizzlies, a minor league baseball team, for many years. One night in the boss’s office after a game, Artie is informed he is outdated and in a social network play on words is told his time is up and old school is over. When he arrives home to his wife Diane (Bette Midler) doing her pole dance moves with several other women in their living room he informs her he lost the love of his life, his job. Artie’s forever goal in life was to one day announce for the Giants and no matter how old he gets he’ll forever hold on to that dream, like many of us do.
In Georgia, Phil Simmons (Tom Everett Scott) is just informed his invention, the RLife, a self-sufficient home of the future, in which he and his family live in, has just been picked to possibly win an award. In order to go receive it he and his wife Alice (Marisa Tomei) must ask a set of Grandparents to watch their three children, Harper (Bailee Madison) the oldest and an inspiring violinist spending much of her time getting ready for an audition, Turner (Joshua Rush) the middle child born with a stutter issue, and Barker (Kyle Harrison Breitkopf) the youngest full of troubling energy with an imaginary friend, Carl, a kangaroo. Much against Alice’s best intentions she has no choice but to ask her parents, Artie and Diane, to fly from Fresno to Georgia to babysit for a week so that she and Phil can go on a work slash vacation together.
When the Grandparents arrive the adventures begin, not only trying to mix old rules with new mentality but also they both have to deal with a house prototype for Phil’s invention. This house not only recognizes the people that come and go but locks doors, makes breakfast amongst many other high tech features. Alice though has an issue on leaving the kids with her parents and decides to stick around a few more days while Phil heads out alone. It’s not until she eventually fly’s to be with her husband that once again things get even darker in the Simmons RLife home. Albeit in the end, bonds are made, lessons are learned, mistakes are made, yet the Grandparents Artie and Diane find their pictures framed on the fireplace mantel for all to see.
How can you go wrong with both Billy Crystal and Bette Midler in a film together? Well you can’t and they didn’t! The direction is well done, the writers keep the story very real, some moments get a bit time sensitive due to the horrific act of violence recently in Connecticut but overall this is truly a very fun, light, family friendly for the most part, worth seeing film for everyone especially those with children. Crystal and Midler are both superb as to be expected. Tomei keeps it real and works it well playing the worry-some mother while her calmer husband, Everett Scott, tends to be a bit more relaxed as the reasoning man of the house. Madison, Rush and Breitkopf all get a nice equal amount of screen time and all three perform a wonderful job making this film truly worth seeing in the theater. Mr. Cheng (Gedde Watanabe) although has a small role brings more humor to the story while Tony Hawk as himself flat lines just a bit, literally. As for the neighborhood bully, Ivan (Cade Jones) he brings familiar territory to any kid the feels like they don’t quite fit in. The story tackles many situations both good and bad that occur in any average family home in America but when you mix three generations under one roof, anything could happen, and it does! Written and enjoyed with 3 paws out of 4, I’m Jon Patch.
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