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Parental Guidance (2012)



Average Rating: 3.8/10
Reviews Counted: 85
Fresh: 15 | Rotten: 70

Parental Guidance is sweet but milquetoast, an inoffensive trifle that's blandly predictable.


Average Rating: 4.1/10
Critic Reviews: 24
Fresh: 5 | Rotten: 19

Parental Guidance is sweet but milquetoast, an inoffensive trifle that's blandly predictable.



liked it
Average Rating: 3.5/5
User Ratings: 61,112


My Rating

Movie Info

Old school grandfather Artie (Billy Crystal), who is accustomed to calling the shots, meets his match when he and his eager-to-please wife Diane (Bette Midler) agree to babysit their three grandkids when their type-A helicopter parents (Marisa Tomei, Tom Everett Scott) go away for work. But when 21st century problems collide with Artie and Diane's old school methods of tough rules, lots of love and old-fashioned games, it's learning to bend - and not holding your ground - that binds a family



Mar 26, 2013


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All Critics (85) | Top Critics (24) | Fresh (15) | Rotten (70) | DVD (1)

This grating family comedy resembles a sitcom in its flat lighting, patronizing music cues, and frames supplying little visual information apart from the actors' mugging faces.

January 3, 2013 Full Review Source: Chicago Reader
Chicago Reader
Top Critic IconTop Critic

One of those intergenerational embarrassment comedies in the Meet the Fockers line, where children can enjoy seeing grown-ups looking ridiculous.

December 28, 2012 Full Review Source: Globe and Mail
Globe and Mail
Top Critic IconTop Critic

An extended "in my day" joke intended to convey the superiority of old people over a lot of supposedly contemporary behavior that doesn't actually exist in real life.

December 27, 2012 Full Review Source: Village Voice
Village Voice
Top Critic IconTop Critic

After a while it seems to run out of jokes, maybe to make room for all the crying and hug-it-out family redemption in the last half hour.

December 26, 2012 Full Review Source: Entertainment Weekly
Entertainment Weekly
Top Critic IconTop Critic

I can't deny I did feel fonder of my own family afterward, mostly because I know none of them would ever make me sit through Parental Guidance.

December 26, 2012 Full Review Source: TIME Magazine
TIME Magazine
Top Critic IconTop Critic

It's hard to know who exactly "Parental Guidance" was made for.

December 25, 2012 Full Review Source: Washington Post
Washington Post
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The kids are mostly a drag and the schmaltz is poured on as thick as maple syrup, but if those by-the-numbers Disney '60s comedies with Suzanne Pleshette and Dean Jones...are your thing, Parental Guidance will warm you up over the holidays

June 27, 2014 Full Review Source: Windy City Times
Windy City Times

A joyless and crude comedy that celebrates bathroom humor.

June 30, 2013 Full Review Source: Big Hollywood
Big Hollywood

The film's gags are predictable and fairly lame, but the stars' diehard fans will enjoy Crystal's snarky one-liners and, yes, Midler's singing.

June 16, 2013 Full Review Source: Movie Talk
Movie Talk

Borscht Belt humor combines with serious schmaltz to produce this gummy formulaic family comedy.

March 29, 2013 Full Review Source: Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN)
Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN)

People with brains they can't turn on and off for 90 minute stretches of holiday family togetherness will be driven to take some kind of painkiller before the final credits roll. Everyone else will be fine

March 14, 2013 Full Review Source: IFilm

If 'Parental Guidance' is the drivel that's passing for family fare this winter, then it's best to just keep your family warm and entertained at home.

February 3, 2013 Full Review Source: Quad City Times (Davenport, IA)
Quad City Times (Davenport, IA)

... a shameless mix of obnoxious slapstick and relentless bodily-function humor that results in shots to the crotch for Crystal and blows to the brain for moviegoers.

January 14, 2013 Full Review Source:

I don't know if it's reassuring or scary that in such an American film the kids seems to be UK-style victims of both health and safety rules and political correctness at the same time.

January 4, 2013 Full Review Source: Birmingham Mail
Birmingham Mail

Poor Crystal. There remains a scintilla of dignity in his sad clown. He may beatbox while wearing wraparound sunglasses, but, thankfully for you and yours, he does not dance the robot.

January 4, 2013 Full Review Source: Austin Chronicle
Austin Chronicle

The underlying issues make for a surprisingly relevant film.

January 3, 2013 Full Review Source: Birmingham Post
Birmingham Post

A yappy pile-up of grandparents-know-best shtick, gross-out bathroom humor and sentimental claptrap.

January 2, 2013 Full Review Source: American Profile
American Profile

Crystal, Midler and Tomei make a perfect combination for this funny but heartwarming family film

January 2, 2013 Full Review Source:

A brutal comedy of bad manners ...

December 30, 2012 Full Review Source: Observer [UK]
Observer [UK]

Just as ghastly as it sounds.

December 28, 2012 Full Review Source: Daily Express
Daily Express

The family friendliest movie comedy this holiday season is also the sappiest and schmaltziest. And thanks to Billy Crystal, the shtickiest.

December 28, 2012 Full Review Source: McClatchy-Tribune News Service
McClatchy-Tribune News Service

A film with little else to commend it from the obvious.

December 27, 2012 Full Review Source: This is London
This is London

Frankly it all feels a bit obvious, perfunctory and dated.

December 27, 2012 Full Review Source: Radio Times
Radio Times

Midler does her best as a put-upon grandma but, ultimately, Parental Guidance feels dated.

December 27, 2012 Full Review Source: Sun Online
Sun Online

Audience Reviews for Parental Guidance

Wasn't quite the suck-fest I pictured, but believe me, my expectations were way down for this one.
Found this quite watchable (once, anyhow, wouldn't watch it again). Decent cast lift it a bit too.
November 29, 2013

Super Reviewer

Surprisingly not crap. The only way I can describe it is that it's essentially an 80's film made in 2012. It is honestly a joy to see Billy Crystal and Bette Midler acting together in these roles, just when you think you can see a cliche coming, it diverts and turns into something different. Sure, there are elements that we've all seen before but it does it differently, instantly feeling like it is something fresh. Al the what would be schmaltzy preaching actually turns out to be valid advice, things get over the top but come right back down to earth without the bump. I liked it anyway.
August 15, 2013

Super Reviewer

Decent, funny comedy, but nothing really special. Billy Crystal was very funny. The philosophy of old school vs, new school parenting had some good laughs, etc. But, it was just really average over all. Pleasant, but not memorable.
June 22, 2013

Super Reviewer

"Parental Guidance" not suggested.

Full review at
May 16, 2013

Super Reviewer

    1. Diane Decker: After your kids grow up, your husband is the one who stays.
    – Submitted by Frances H (26 days ago)
    1. Artie Decker: Don't call me grandpa, Call me Artie.
    2. Barker: Can I call you Fartie?
    – Submitted by imani p (15 months ago)
    1. Artie Decker: I taught them how to shave! Show 'em your legs Boys!
    – Submitted by Rebecca C (20 months ago)
    1. Diane Decker: [to Violin Teacher] If you EVER speak to my Granddaughter like that again..There will be nothing left of you but some red hair and an accent... Is that clear comrade?
    – Submitted by Hannah F (20 months ago)
    1. Diane Decker: You gotta shape up Artie! You know what Grandparenting is? A Second chance!
    – Submitted by Hannah F (20 months ago)
    1. Diane Decker: After your kids grow up... Your husband is the one who stays!
    – Submitted by Hannah F (20 months ago)
View all quotes (17)

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