Friday, January 18, 2013

Parental Guidance: Just Don't Say "No"

Being a grandparent in the 21st century is a lot like being Miles Monroe in Woody Allen's Sleeper. After he was cryogenetically preserved for decades, he returns to Earth only to learn that everything he believed has been disproved. In this flick what's changed most drastically is the notion of raising children.

And so it is with Artie  (Billy Crystal) and Diane (Bette Midler), who arrive at the home of their daughter (Marisa Tomei) to babysit for their three grandchildren. Add to the intrigue the fact that they are the "other grandparents," called in when all else failed, and the plot is ripe for a good comedy.

But Parental Guidance is more than that. Diane sees this as an opportunity to be the grandmother she hasn't been, and to a lesser extent, so does Artie, who's just lost his job and the career he loves. Add it all together, with superlative acting, and you get a funny, touching movie about family relationships and second chances.

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