A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
The movie's main message is the importance of staying close to your parents, especially when you're an adult with children of your own. The importance and benefits of inter-generational families are stressed.
Positive Role Models
Diane is trying to be a more attentive mother and grandmother, and she does her best to reconcile with her estranged adult child and get to know her grandkids.
Violence & Scariness
A grandfather is struck in the testicles with a baseball bat and then vomits on a kid. A boy hits his bully in the eye and is then struck in response. A famous skateboarder falls on the halfpipe after a boy pees on it.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Mild suggestiveness and a couple of slow dances and kisses between Alice and Phil. There's a running joke that a married couple occasionally role plays being an English punk lover and his girlfriend. Artie and Diane hug.
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Insults like "stupid," "poopyhead," "fartie," and other silly names. A fair bit of scatological humor, such as a boy peeing on a halfpipe and an adult getting hit in the testicles and then vomiting on a boy.
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Products & Purchases
ESPN, the X Games, Tony Hawk, Apple products (including MacBooks and iPods), and the San Francisco Giants are all featured in the movie.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Adults drink on vacation.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Parental Guidance is a mostly kid-friendly family comedy about the tension between grandparents' old-style parenting and their daughter and son-in-law's Type-A helicopter parenting. There's some rude and scatological humor -- e.g. "poopy head," "fartie Artie," a grandfather being hit in the testicles with a baseball bat, and a man vomiting on a child. A grandfather's suggestion to stick up for yourself leads to his grandson punching his bully and then getting hit in the eye in response. Several brands are mentioned, particularly ESPN, but the product placements aren't generally overwhelming. There's a little drinking by adults, some mild suggestiveness (including references to a couple's romantic role playing), and some kissing. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
It's sad to report that the combination of brilliant comedian Crystal and the multi-talented Midler doesn't amount to much in this uninspired, "everything funny is in the trailer" family movie. All of the bats to the crotch and pee jokes only reinforce how lowbrow and predictable the humor is and how much PARENTAL GUIDANCE squanders its leads' stellar talent.
The interactions between Crystal's grumpy grandfather, Midler's overeager grandmother, and their three wacky grandkids are alternately coy and annoying. Even the one song-and-dance number Crystal and Midler break into ("The Book of Love") is too forced and unnecessary to be entertaining. There are a few Crystal-inspired laughs and gags -- one at the expense of skateboarding legend Tony Hawk, who cameos -- but there aren't enough to make you forget how disappointing it is to see such iconic actors in such a blah film.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.