Fox Friday – Parental Guidance

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You know what? Fuck you, Fox. Why’d you have to make me get all weepy with this feel-good comedy about grandparents struggling to be a relevant part of their grandkid’s lives? I’m just kidding. I like getting all nostalgic and emotional. It’s cleanses my essence, and we all know how dirty that is.

Put a comment in here and win this movie. Maybe. If you're the only comment you will.

Put a comment on this post and win this movie. Maybe. If you’re the only comment you will.

Now I’m going to do something I’ve never done. I’m going to tell you that this was a very heartwarming flick, and that I really did enjoy watching it. I’m also going to leave it at that and copy some of the press release in here to tell you about the movie, and urge you to watch it. Especially if you are one of my generation. You know, with parents who got pregnant in their early 20’s or late teens, and just raised you as best they could with what they had. No baby monitors, Google, or car seats for that matter. Just instinct, homemade wine, and guts. By guts I mean threatening and sometimes having to follow through when you call their bluff.

Haha, I love this.

Haha, I love this.

Okay, that is all. I’ll leave you now with some professionally written thing that they provide to us folks that don’t have the time to think of cleverly worded reviews.

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Artie Decker (Billy Crystal), who is accustomed to calling the shots, meets his match when he and his eager-to-please wife Diane (Bette Midler) agree to babysit their three grandkids when their type-A helicopter parents (Marisa Tomei, Tom Everett Scott) go away for work.  But when 21st century problems collide with Artie and Diane’s old school methods of tough rules, lots of love and old-fashioned games, it’s learning to bend – and not holding your ground – that brings a family together.

A comedic and emotionally rich depiction of the clashing parenting styles between the generations, PARENTAL GUIDANCE’s subject matter, characters and actors are relatable to all audiences.  Youngsters will enjoy the hijinks of the family’s trio of children; the film’s theme of being caught between your parents and kids will resonate with adults; and PARENTAL GUIDANCE is the first comedy in many years that shows grandparents as active, funny, involved and vital characters – and central to modern family life.

“PARENTAL GUIDANCE combines comedy and pathos in the best way,” affirms Billy Crystal, who portrays Artie Decker.  “It’s what life is about.  This film has something for everyone.”

In the story, Billy Crystal’s Artie and Bette Midler’s Diane are “the other grandparents” to their three grandchildren – meaning their son-in-law’s parents have a much stronger connection with the kids, which Diane envies and has long sought to correct.  But Artie and Diane’s infrequent visits to their daughter Alice’s (Marisa Tomei) home have relegated them to second-tier status – along with a few photos of the couple hidden on Alice’s mantelpiece.

“It’s not that Artie and Diane don’t love Alice – who is their only child – and her three kids; they just don’t understand them,” explains Midler.  Diane has renewed hope when Alice reluctantly invites her and Artie to babysit the couple’s grandkids while Alice and husband Phil (Tom Everett Scott) enjoy some time away from home.  For Alice, her invitation is an act of, well, desperation – her in-laws are unavailable so she must turn to Artie and Diane for help. (Alice’s misgiving even lead to her breaking out in a rash.) But Diane sees it as a golden opportunity: “Grandparenting is a second chance” to be a part of their lives of their grandchildren and Alice – she tells Artie, who is much less enthused about hanging out with the kids he barely knows.

Artie’s mixed feelings about this “second chance” are partly due to his recent professional setbacks.   A minor league baseball announcer for over 30 years, Artie has just been fired, losing his dream to work in the major leagues.  Still reeling from that disappointment, the last thing he wants is to look after his grandchildren.  But Artie will ultimately discover that there’s more to life than announcing ball games.  “He’s been fired from a job he loves, but then finds himself kind of falling in love with his grandkids,” says Crystal.

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That's kind of a good idea.

That’s kind of a good idea.

I cut it off there, because if I put the rest it would take you an hour to read, and tell the whole story. This way you’ll have to watch it and save a bit of time as well.

Grandpa, take me back to yesterday, when the line between right and wrong didn’t seem so hazy,

Birdman

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