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Parental Guidance: Blu Ray Review

Rating: PG (The irony)
Released by 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment

It's been a decade since Billy Crystal graced the screen with Analyze That and now he's back in this family comedy, along with Bette Midler.

Crystal plays Artie Decker, an ageing baseball announcer, whose time on the side of the field is called out by his bosses. When his estranged daughter Alice (Tomei) calls asking Artie and wife Diane (Midler) to babysit the kids for a week while she heads out of town, chaos ensues.

The reason? Alice is a strict parent who has rules and boundaries for her three children and whose political correctness version of parenting clashes directly with Artie and Diane's somewhat more liberal and relaxed approach to letting them do what they want....

Parental Guidance is predictable family fare which will amuse the younger end of the audience more than the older. Certainly, with its fart gags and obvious humour and situations, it's going for low hanging fruit - and yet, its target will definitely love parts of it despite the fact we've seen it all before. And while it's great to see Crystal back on the screen, he's constrained by a film script which aims low and then manages to dig deeper everytime.

Somewhere in among all the misfires is a social commentary, waiting to rise to the surface; a look at how parenting values have changed over the years and how in some ways, the old methods of a sharp slap and rebuke are the best rather than having your child "use their words" to express their anger. But these oft-unspoken truths are lost among the deeply uninspiring and highly unoriginal story we've all seen before. Don't get me wrong, as a piece of holiday entertainment, families with young kids will be amused by the antics and the occasional slapstick.

However, on a personal level, Parental Guidance remains a disappointment for the return of Billy Crystal - how he could waste himself in such a cliched movie and deliver a performance which offers up more than the material given to him is a real headscratcher.

Extras: Commentary, deleted scenes and gag reel.

Rating: 4/10