BEIRUT

Culture

‘Parental Guidance’ tolerable and touching if uninspired

  • Artie holds on to his grandson Barker, who doesn’t like the idea of mom and dad leaving for a vacation.

LOS ANGELES: The schmaltz is piled on thick, and if the comedy were any broader it would require an Imax screen, but still there’s something touching about how hard Billy Crystal and Bette Midler hustle to peddle the threadbare material that makes “Parental Guidance” a tolerable, if uninspired, movie-going experience.

As “the other grandparents” who are given a rare opportunity to bond with their grandchildren, Billy and Bette seem well aware they have to entertain the paying audience as much as the juvenile characters.

Artie Decker (Crystal) has just lost his longtime gig as “De Voice of the Fresno Grizzlies” when the minor-league baseball team decide to upgrade the outfit with the sort of talent that knows its way around a Facebook page or a Twitter account.

Despondent Artie’s not excited at the news that he and his wife Diane (Midler) have been recruited to babysit the three kids of their daughter Alice (Marisa Tomei).

There are predictable gags built around technologically challenged Artie. Fortunately, Crystal’s arsenal of rim-shot-ready rejoinders hit the mark more than they miss. While his character has been given more of an emotional arc than Midler’s, it’s still nice to see Midler strutting her stuff in her first onscreen comedy role in years.

Tomei is always a welcome presence, even when she’s saddled with what’s essentially a one-note character for most of the film.

Director Andy Fickman and screenwriters Lisa Addario and Joe Syracuse could have mined some fresher stuff from this frequently played ballgame.

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on January 03, 2013, on page 16.
Advertisement

Comments

Your feedback is important to us!

We invite all our readers to share with us their views and comments about this article.

Disclaimer: Comments submitted by third parties on this site are the sole responsibility of the individual(s) whose content is submitted. The Daily Star accepts no responsibility for the content of comment(s), including, without limitation, any error, omission or inaccuracy therein. Please note that your email address will NOT appear on the site.

comments powered by Disqus

Advertisement

FOLLOW THIS ARTICLE

Interested in knowing more about this story?

Click here