The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )
Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )
Studio and Year: 20th Century Fox - 2012
MPAA Rating: PG
Feature running time: 105 minutes
Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 1.85:1
Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio, English/Spanish/French Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish
Starring: Billy Crystal, Bette Midler, Marisa Tomei, Tom Everette Scott, Bailee Madison
Directed by: Andy Fickman
Music by: Marc Shaiman
Written by: Lisa Addario & Joe Syracuse
Region Code: A
Blu-ray Disc release Date: March 26, 2013
Old-school grandparents Artie (Crystal) and Diane (Midler) get more than they bargained for when they get stuck babysitting their type-A daughter’s (Tomei) overprotected kids. But things go from hectic to hysterical when Artie realizes the kids are running the house with their newfangled technology. By playing by his own rules, which include sugary snacks, old fashioned games and tough love, Artie manages to outsmart the kids and achieve the impossible- bring the family closer together!
I saw the trailer for Parental guidance on another Fox title that I had in for review. The trailer included the best lines from the film and as a fan of Marisa Tomei, Billy Crystal and Bette Midler I was interested in checking it out. In the story, Artie (Crystal) and Diane (Midler) 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 (Tomei) home have relegated them to second string status, as evidenced by their single hidden photo on Alice’s mantelpiece. When Alice and husband Phil (Scott) need to leave town on business they exhaust all possible avenues for babysitters before calling Artie and Diane. Diane wholeheartedly accepts much to Artie’s chagrin. The couple arrives to find Alice and Phil’s parenting style as well as the behavior of their grandchildren to be quite the contrary of anything they would do.
Artie finds himself mystified by each of the kids’ eccentricities. Harper (Madison), 12, is intense, brainy, and an overachiever who’s so busy with her burgeoning music career, she has no time to be a kid. Youngest grandkid Barker, like many children, has an imaginary friend, a kangaroo named Carl who seems to frequently guide him to acts of mischief. Middle child Turner, is a good kid saddled with a speech impediment that robs him of self-confidence and makes him the target of the school bully.
Bonding with the kids proves more difficult than either Artie or Diane anticipated with Artie undergoing a series of granddad vs. grandkids comedic misadventures, misunderstandings and mistakes that are exacerbated by Alice’s lack of faith in his ability to stick to her myriad rules and regulations. Things get worse before they get better but with a little luck, and a little help from one of baseball’s all-time magical moments understanding and love prevails.
Parental Guidance opens with a series of Billy Crystal’s one-liners and situational gags that last for the entire first act. From there it segues into formulaic melodrama and finishes up with a heartwarming flourish that unfortunately can’t overcome the patronizing humor and unfulfilling sentimentality of the film’s first hour or so. As much as I like the headlining members of the cast I couldn’t get by some of the ridiculous dialogue and overtly campy site-gags. There are few moments where Midler and Crystal shine and Bailee Madison has a knack for scene stealing. I did enjoy the finale which left an almost salvageable taste in my mouth (almost). In the end the best way to describe Parental guidance would be perfunctory, with a decent kick at the finish.
The rating is for some rude humor.
AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100 / EXCELLENT = 83-91 / GOOD = 74-82 / AVERAGE = 65-73 / BELOW AVERAGE = under 65
**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Low frequency extension:
- Surround Sound presentation:
- Dialogue Reproduction:
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Black level/Shadow detail:
- Color reproduction:
Parental Guidance comes to Blu-ray disc from 20th Century Fox featuring 1080pA VC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 30 Mbps and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio sound that has an average bitrate of 3.2 Mbps.
This is a great looking high definition video presentation from Fox. Images are resolved with appreciable detail that reveals plenty of discernible texture during close up camera shots. The exterior pans of the suburbs are clearly rendered while offering lucid long range visual acuity that allows the physical structure of baseball fields, streets and objects in backgrounds to be discernible. The film utilizes a vivid chromatic palette and tonal balance is on the money which leaves colors looking quite natural and pleasing. Fleshtones are on the warm side but appear lifelike in depiction. White and black levels are appropriately balanced which provides punchy whites and stable blacks. The result is a filmic and gratifying viewing experience that looked great on my large screen.
The lossless DTS-HD MA soundtrack is above average for a dialogue driven film like this and features lively dynamics, clearly articulated dialogue, in an open sounding and airy presentation. The film’s music is spread over the entire system with primary instrumental focus being delivered by the front three channels with ambient extension bled to the surround speakers. I thought this surround mix was perfectly suited for the film and sounded wonderful.
- (HD) 15 deleted scenes with optional director commentary
- (HD) Gag reel – 12 minutes
- Fox Movie Channel presents: In character with Billy Crystal, Marisa Tomei, and Bette Midler – 5 minutes
- Audio commentary with director Andy Fickman & Billy Crystal
- (HD) Theatrical trailer
- Bonus DVD
- Digital Copy
Parental Guidance suffers from a poorly written script that fails to support a strong cast. Genre fans that tend to enjoy repetitive slapstick and Billy Crystal’s affable presence/comedic timing might be able to get past its numerous shortcomings to the finale which isn’t bad at all. Parental guidance comes to Blu-ray from 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment featuring excellent high definition audio/video and a bland but serviceable supplemental offering. If you’re a fan of the film this is worth picking up otherwise a rental should more than suffice.
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We watched this last night and really enjoyed it. It's not a great film by any stretch, but it did make us laugh quite a bit (especially the kids).
David Vaughn Blu-ray Reviewer / Technical Writer Sound & Vision Magazine (Print & Online)
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Glad to hear it Dave. I started it with my family but they only lasted about 30 minutes in...
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