Happy Friday Everyone! I usually reserve these days for something fitness-related, but “F” is for family too, so I’m thinking that these Friday posts could also be about fun things to do with the family. Over Christmas vacation, our kids
begged whined politely asked if we could all go see the movie Parental Guidance together. We were so busy doing other things (hiking, skating, hosting visits with friends) that we never did squeeze the movie in – until this past Saturday night. It’s still playing in theaters (it opened on Christmas Day), so if you are looking for a good movie to bring the kids (probably appropriate for ages 6 and up), I highly recommend it.
Parental Guidance is no Oscar contender, but it will make you laugh. And the most amazing thing that I noticed about this movie was that for the first time ever, my husband and I laughed at the same time as our kids. Typically, you take your kids to a movie of their choosing and there are two kinds of punch lines: those intended for the kids and those intended for those of us born before 1976. But this movie was different. Or maybe my kids are getting older. (Or maybe my brain is regressing since I haven’t seen an Oscar contender in the theater since, oh, probably 2002). Oh, and I cried too. But I cry during coffee commercials.
So, here’s the story…
Phil (Tom Everett Scott) and Alice (Marisa Tomei) are modern-day parents of three kids who find themselves faced with a unique position of success when Phil’s smart house invention is being honored. They both want to attend Phil’s business trip, but they need a babysitter. When Phil’s parents are unable to watch the kids, Harper (Bailee Madison), Turner (Joshua Rush), and Barker (Kyle Harrison Breitkopf), Alice is forced to ask her parents Artie (Billy Crystal) and Diane (Bette Midler) to watch them. Phil and Alice are modern-day parents. Grumpy Artie is unenthusiastic about the idea, but Diane sees it as a chance for them to come out from under their long-distance label as the “other grandparents.”
Things get more tense when we see that Phil and Alice are uber-progressive, helicopter parents with very modern parenting methods. A simple “No!” is now “Think about the consequences.” Raising one’s voice is now considered a “Red” voice and must be replaced by the calmer, cooler “Blue” voice. Artie and Diane remember only the old-school methods, while they do give the modern way their best shot.
There are a few moments that simply are not credible. I won’t spoil the biggies, but one the I found the most not believable was when Alice has to cancel her flight because her client (ESPN) needs her to redesign their website. She somehow manages to complete the assignment in oh, about 30 minutes! And then take her daughter dress-shopping at Bloomingdales. Definitely not happening in this lifetime. But overall, the movie showed so many of the trials and tribulations of modern-day family life in a very humorous way. Alice looks amazing (she still has fabulous legs 21 years after My Cousin Vinny) but she looks tired – as any working mom of three would – during pretty much the whole movie.
The show stealer of this movie is not Barker, the youngest red-headed child (who has an imaginary friend, Carl the Kangaroo), but rather Gedde Watanabe as the Healthy Tiger Panasian Restaurant owner Mr. Cheng. Does the name Gedde Watanabe ring a bell to you? The first person to identify who he is – and what 80′s movie he was in – gets a NuVal water bottle sent to them! The crowd in the theater (again, born before 1976) was so happy to see this character!
Almost a week later, and my kids are still talking about this movie. They loved it so much that it looks like their grandparents will be taking them for a second showing this weekend. Hmmmmm. Maybe we’ll get to see one of those Oscar contenders while they go!
Posted in: Family Friday
Tags: Movie Review