BootLeg Betty

Movie Review: Parental Guidance (Thank You Ron!)

Mister D, thank you for posting the advance screening times for the film. I was able to see Parental Guidance this morning (10 a.m., Saturday) here in Las Vegas. I’ve read a couple mini-reviews about the film (all good!), and would like to chime in a bit.

There may be a moratorium on reviews until Christmas Day, so I won’t say too much, but I was thrilled to see the film early, and I will most likely see it again as a paying customer when it opens on Christmas (my, with all these free advance screenings, let’s hope the film makes money–lol).

A few things that I have to say, though, are this:

The film is much funnier than I thought. Virtually every scene is hilarious, and very well done. I’ve read a handful of negative comments from people who have seen the trailer(s), and they are absolutely wrong–everything fits together and works very well. Bette and Billy are at the top of their game, and I can easily see sequels (a la Meet the Parents or Home Alone), if this film is a hit. The script is very, very funny. I didn’t find it corny or schmaltzy at all, and the audience loved it. I can’t remember going to a movie that appealed to such a wide demographic–kids and teens, young parents, adults, middle-agers, and grandparents–this film attracted everybody! What was also a hoot, is that many of the people in the audience seemed to know each other (as in, “Oh my gosh, I can’t believe I bumped into you….how have you been?”). I felt like I was invited to a family reunion.

I rarely get emotional during films, and I actually got choked up a few times during the movie. Most of the scenes are very believable, and there is a wide range of emotion from the characters, including comedy, slapstick, melancholy, remorse, anger, and forgiveness.

Bette looks terrific (as does Billy), but I didn’t get the sense that they were “botoxed” grandparents. There were plenty of close-ups that make their stature as grandparents believable. They have an amazing chemistry between the two of them–if I didn’t know better, I would expect them to be married to each other in real life.

The acting was terrific all the way around, and each of the kids had a very specific, identifiable personality that made him/her unique. I’ve always loved Marisa Tomei, and she is wonderful in this film, as always.

Even though Billy is the star of the film, every character has terrific lines. This is truly an ensemble piece, and Bette’s lines resonated with emotion and conviction. The plot and storyline was much more fleshed-out and richer than the trailer(s) may suggest–there’s a lot more substance to this comedy than one might expect, and I think it excels on multiple levels.

Without much in the way of family-film movie entertainment at Christmas, I’m willing to predict right now that Parental Guidance is going to be a huge success. With mediocre reviews coming in for “The Hobbit” (too bad, I’m a huge LOTR fan), as well as “Les Mis” (some people find the film insufferable), and platform releases for the some of the other Oscar-hyped movies, I can see Parental Guidance sweeping the audiences across the nation.

The film received applause at the end, and that doesn’t happen very often. I can’t speak for the critics (so many are stodgy, and just go for the art-house fare), but I think many will be pleasantly surprised that this film is really, really good–and a lot of fun. It’s a definite must-see.

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