Comedy icons Billy Crystal and Bette Midler star in the family-centric comedy “Parental Guidance” together with Marisa Tomei, Tom Everett Scott, Bailee Madison, Joshua Rush and Kylie Harrison Breitkopf.
Directed by Andy Fickman, “Parental Guidance” is a comedic and emotionally-rich depiction of the clashing parenting styles between the generations whose 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 the movie is the first comedy in many years that shows grandparents as active, funny, involved and vital characters – and central to modern family life.
Alice (Tomei) in desperation calls her parents Artie (Crystal) and Diane (Midler) to look after their three children when she and her husband need to go on a trip. 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.
Joe Syracuse & Lisa Addario, the movie’s screenwriting partners, husband-and-wife, and parents of two children, say the notion of battling parenting styles between the generations resonated with them. “Once we became parents, we realized that we were not raising them the way our parents raised us,” says Addario. The two writers, like so many of their generation, grew up during a time when children’s car seats had yet to be invented, second-hand smoke didn’t have a name, and kids rode bikes without helmets. But when our generation had kids, “the word ‘parent’ became a verb as well as a noun,” adds Syracuse. “But when the reality of childrearing set in, we came to see the wisdom in the way our parents did things, and we started to question our generation’s nurturing, coddling and overprotecting our kids.”