Artie (Billy Crystal) is old school; his jokes are old school, he can't use modern technology and he likes it that way whilst his wife Diane (Bette Midler) is more open minded whilst still being an old school loving grandma. When their daughter Alice (Marisa Tomei) and husband Phil (Tom Everett Scott) call up out of the blue as they need someone to come and stay with the children for a few days whilst they go away Diane agrees despite Artie not wanting to go. Not only does Artie now have to deal with a new home full of modern technology but children who run the roost thanks to modern parenting which revolves around therapists and letting the children express themselves.
"Parental Guidance" is one of those movies which I am sure on paper worked but as a completed movie it doesn't or at least not like it should. For me someone said let's update "Uncle Buck" but rather than a slacker uncle lets bring in old school grandparents who find modern parenting being the root of the problems when it comes to problem children. And as I said on paper the idea is good and it delivers some funny scenes as Artie struggles with technology to the children running wild when he lets the children eat cake.
The trouble with "Parental Guidance" is that it ends up feeling an onslaught of jokes and set pieces with Billy Crystal delivering his wise cracking backed up by Bette Midler deliver her wise cracking and whilst I love them both it is too full on. And the irony is that whilst Marisa Tomei and Bailee Madison have a very different style when it comes to comedy they add to the sense of being smacked around the head with a giant comedy glove over and over again.
But here is the daftest thing about "Parental Guidance". Whilst as a movie it has problems and is too much of an onslaught if they were to have turned the idea into a sitcom and persuaded the cast to do it I am convinced it would have worked and appealed to all ages. In fact there would be something wonderfully old school about having Crystal and Midler as an old school wise cracking married couple who you tune into every week. And the set piece gags suit the whole 30 minute episode set up so much better, preventing it from become too much of a wise cracking onslaught.
What this all boils down to is that whilst "Parental Guidance" is enjoyable it is a case that it is more enjoyable in small doses rather than as 105 minutes of entertainment.