Here is another in a series of movie reviews. Since the Oscars were handed out Sunday night, reviewing a relatively minor movie seemed appropriate. This week, the topic is “Parental Guidance”. The basic story is a set of grandparents are asked to watch their grand children for a week while their daughter spends some alone time with her husband. The grand parents, Billy Crystal and Bette Midler, are not the favored grandparents. Their only child, Marisa Tomei, does not trust them to take care of her children in the correct way, since they did such a bad job with her.

Marisa’s character has bought into all of the most modern fads in child rearing; no sugar, no direct confrontation, no winners or losers. Her parents are much more conventional. The movie explores the absurdities of the modern method and the conflict of old school versus new age. It also deals with adults addressing their own relationship issues using children as the mode of communication.

The kids carry most of the movie, but Billy Crystal has finally gotten back to the rapid fire delivery that made him a success in the eighties and nineties. Bette Midler is just wonderful, as she is in almost every role that she has ever played. Bette and the character whom she plays, help Billy and his character in every way except final enlightenment. That comes from the kids, and the son in law, Tom Everett Scott.

The film is enjoyable throughout. Many of the scenes are formula, but they work. It is an uplifting storey, the type that we all need to see from time to time. It has already finished its pass through the major theaters, but it is showing in the discount cinemas and will be on video soon. It is worth the time to watch.

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Martin writes about writing in his weekly column Ramblings from Martin.

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