Parental Guidance Opens Christmas Day

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Liz Lopez

Rating B-

Families will be looking for films to watch around the holidays and one to be considered is the comedy penned by Lisa Addario and Joe Syracuse, Parental Guidance. It provides a bit of humor to the differing ways to care and discipline children, but some of the scenes and lines may be considered rude by some viewers, thus the PG rating in case children are in the mix to attend the film. I have no doubt some viewers may laugh out loud if they identify with some of the children’s antics, or cringe in the theater seats, depending on what the child (or adult in some cases) has done. The director, Andy Fickman (You Again, Race to Witch Mountain, The Game Plan) has plenty of experience working with PG scripts and brings this latest endeavor to life with the great cast featuring veteran actors and young ones that the viewer may find endearing.

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Peter Chernin is a producer, along with Billy Crystal, who also stars as Artie Decker. His wife Diane (Bette Midler) even has a different attitude, in some ways, about parenting, so she jumps at the job to take on caretaker duties for the three children they hardly get to see, as their daughter, Alice Simmons (Marisa Tomei) and son – in – law Phil (Tom Everett Scott) live out of town with Harper (Bailee Madison), Turner (Joshua Rush) and Barker (Kyle Harrison Breitkopf). The casting for Midler and Crystal is good and he certainly does a good job of interpreting a sports announcer who is out of his league taking care of a child with special needs or otherwise. Some of the script may come across as goofy to some people, especially Crystal’s antics, but parents and grandparents may be more understanding of where the writers and directors are going with this production.

I am very pleased to have Gedde Watanabe perform his comedic style as the owner of a restaurant, Mr. Cheng. He is one actor I have not forgotten from his performance as Long Duk Dong in Sixteen Candles (1984) and am glad he is added to the comedic cast. Sports fans may enjoy the baseball angle, as Decker’s career as an announcer, but while off with the family, he has no hesitation auditioning for another sports job. Fans of Tony Hawk and Steve Levy get to view the two personalities portray themselves in a short scene. I enjoyed the cinematography of Hawk’s skill with the skateboard.

Overall, this is entertaining and appropriate for the holiday season viewers, but not likely to be one to be considered for awards in early 2013.  Parental Guidance will be in theaters December 25, 2012.

Happy Holidays!

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