The Review of "Parental Guidance" I'd Probably Write If I Actually Bothered to See "Parental Guidance"

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The Review of Parental Guidance I'd Probably Write If I Actually Bothered to See Parental Guidance

By Dustin Rowles | Film Reviews | December 28, 2012 | Comments ()


Parental Guidance is a clash-of-generations comedy written for another generation: Ninety-five percent of the jokes can be boiled down to: This is how we were raised and we turned out all right, while your kids are pu**ies because you're coddling them. Kids are more gender neutral, parents are more conscious about what they feed their children, and everyone gets a gold star for participating, and all this love and nurturing will invariably create serial-killing monsters of our a new generation of children. Or self-obsessed, cross-dressing brats whose every movement will be recorded and consumed by the YouTube masses.

Parental Guidance stars Billy Crystal and Bette Midler, who -- thanks to this generation's sins -- have fewer lines and creases in their faces than their daughter, played by Marisa Tomei. Neither Crystal nor Middler have been relevant in two decades, which is about when it looks like this movie was made. It's old-school parenting vs. helicopter parenting. There are jokes made at the expense of attachment parenting, and the 1,987th variation of a joke about mothers who breastfeed their children into their toddler years. And as soon as they run out of lame jokes and sugar-high gags, everyone hugs and bonds over the fact that their bloodlines bind them together, whether they like it or not.

Parental Guidance is a movie about grandparents made for Hollywood grandparents, those theoretical doddering old folks who we know and love from the movies that will probably think this movie is "cute." Real grandparents are just as likely to call it "cute," but that's just code for "please take me back to my retirement village where I can go see Django Unchained like the rest of the country without judgement from my insufferable children and my bratty goddamn grandkids."

Parental Guidance comes from Andy Flickman, the three-celled frat-boy organism responsible for such hits as The Game Plan and She's the Man, who has perfected the art of soft-focus, brightly-lit imbecile comedy. Like Seth Rogen's The Guilt Trip, it's a joyless exercise in pain tolerance, and exactly the kind of film you could summarize or review without having ever seen it. It's hokum-filled, market-driven bullshit labeled a "family comedy" because that means buying five tickets at the box office instead of just the one.

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Comments Are Welcome, Bigots and Trolls Are Not

  • ,


    I think my gonad just hid behind a kidney.

  • Uriah_Creep

    your kids are pu**ies because you’re coddling them

    Really? You feel the need to censor the word "pussies"? I fear that's exactly what you're becoming, advertisers or no.

  • Buck Forty

    Yeah but there are a whole bunch of workplace servers out there that block sites that say pussy, but not pu**ies, so there you go.
    The weird think is that people saying profanity in the comments don't trigger those same blocks.

  • Uriah_Creep

    You may be right, Tasha, but every workplace server blocker I've come across uses an address lookup to define the sites that will be prohibited; analysis of the actual contents would be inefficient and rather slow, I suspect. I'm certainly no expert, in any case, but I do know that Dustin has previously stated that they self-censor so as to not offend their advertising agencies. This is certainly understandable, and I would likely do the same thing if my livelihood depended on making the advertisers happy, but it still seems a mockery of Pajiba's very mission.

    On the other hand, there is a huge discrepancy in the amount of self-censoring the different writers do (TK: almost none; JoRo: a LOT), which is odd. And anyway "pussy" is hardly a scandalous word; he could have been talking about his kitty.

  • BierceAmbrose

    This is The Comment On the Review of Parental Guidance I'd Probably Write If I Actually Bothered to Read the Review.

    Oh, Dustin, there you go again. Also, Marisa Tomei is hot.

  • John G.

    Enough with that pic, alright. I already wouldn't see it just based on the title, you don't have to be about parenting AND have Billy Crystal AND have Bette Midler And Marisa Tomei. I got the message, ok. I won't watch it.

  • Untamed

    Parental Guidance stars Billy Crystal and Bette Midler, who — thanks to this generation’s sins — have fewer lines and creases in their faces than their daughter, played by Marisa Tomei.

    That's the first thing I noticed, standing in the movie theater next to the poster....waiting to see Les Miz. I read an interview with Bette who seemed to be bemoaning the days when SHE would have played the mother but now she's the grandmother. Bette, you are 67 years old. Get a grip, and a wrinkle.

  • sean

    Tomei is in her late 40s. She could be a grandmother herself.

  • ,

    I volunteer to provide her with the starter kit.

  • Lee

    What I find interesting is that their faces rarely actually look younger - they just look strange and alien-like. Very few Hollywood types who get extensive "work" done end up looking better, and they all get a generic cloned look about them. It's a weird phenomenon.

  • BWeaves

    Holy Shit, Billy Crystal and Better Midler's faces scare me. There's a reason I love Judy Densch, and Maggie Smith, and Helen Mirren, and Imelda Staunton, and any number of British actresses who look their age. They are beautiful. Wrinkles do not make you ugly.

  • apsutter

    Helen Mirren is so gorgeous. I am really really hoping that Kate Winslet will let herself age gracefully because she is so beautiful. I have the feeling she might have been fucking with her face a little bit already but I hope she stays hands off.

  • Untamed

    EXACTLY. Here I was walking around LA a few years ago, thinking that was a woman in her 20/30's walking toward me. She gets right up to me and YIKES! it's a plasticized face of a 50/60 year old. Really enough to scare young children.

  • Lee


  • Three_nineteen

    Is that Tom Everett Scott?


    Poor baby. At least he gets to be married to Marisa Tomei.

  • I did the same double take and then moment of pity. Both of them should have defected to a better movie.

  • Drake

    The commercials for this that have been running incessantly make it look so incredibly BAD that it would take a high class NY whore's wages to get me to see it.

  • F'mal DeHyde

    Tomei's one of the few actresses of her age range that I still recognize. Plastic surgery is killing the art of acting.

  • spoobnooble

    You would think after watching the gradual disintegration of Michael Jackson's face that more celebrities would be stepping away from the surgery table.

  • apsutter

    What's truly baffling is that a lot of these stars have tons of money and could actually afford good subtle surgery but always end up with hack jobs. Just take Tom Cruise for instance. 3 or 4 years ago he started looking pretty rough. Because he's a hundred millionaire and one of the biggest(albeit insane) movie stars on the planet he had some work done but it was done by the Picasso of plastic surgeons. Seriously look at the man. He's 50!

  • Buck Forty

    If I ever get plastic surgery done I'd hope it's not by a 'Picasso'. Or even a 'Van Gogh'. I'd prefer an artist more photorealistic, like Rembrandt.

    Actually what I'm really counting on, by the time I need it, is the CGI team at Weta Workshop developing some software that can reengineer my skin cells the same way they do with pixels.

  • Kballs

    I "viewed" this column without reading one word and am sure it is filled with despair about family comedies and how vanilla and repetitive they are as a genre with their endless use of tired jokes, old people humor, and how the youth of America are a fucking idiots. And the director is an incompetent asshole who's made some horrible, indefensible movies in the past. And I'm pretty sure Billy and Bette will be Scarlett Lettered as has-beens.

    *reads column*

    Damn I'm good.

  • Jezzer

    It's a cute joke and all, but it's really a disservice to the site to "review" movies without seeing them.

    By which I mean, "Make TK watch it."

  • Mrs. Julien

    You forgot "and real time review it", Jezzer.

  • Ugh, Billy Crystal.

  • Maguita NYC

    Why are we not putting the amazing Marisa Tomei in better movies? That chick is hot and a great character actress!

  • Quatermain

    I didn't recognize that grinning gargoyle in the header as Billy Crystal at first and when I did, all I felt was pity. I'm not sure who's fallen further, him or Robert De Niro.

  • Brown

    De Niro had a higher place to fall from.

  • Arran

    Definitely De Niro because he had a much bigger drop to make. Taxi Driver to New Year's Eve is like jumping off the CN Tower. City Slickers to Parental Guidance is like jumping off a 10-floor walk-up.

  • sjfromsj

    Woah woah woah, do NOT besmirch She's The Man!

    I'm sure you're spot-on with the rest of this. I likely will never bother to watch this movie. I'm embarrassed for all involved.

  • oilybohunk7

    Oh, phew! I didn't want to be the only one thinking "But I liked that movie..."

  • ExUSA

    Exactly, it may be a poor man's 10 Things I Hate About You, but that's still worth fighting for.

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