Parental Guidance : Movie Review

This is just a taste of what you’re in for from Parental Guidance: Completely random “humorous” ethnic stereotyping. The public berating of a man for being madly in love with a woman who does not conform to the Hollywood caricature of “hot.” Crotch injury as comedic. The questioning of the masculinity of a man who is kind and gentle. Children’s toilet habits held up for ridicule. Blatant narrative and thematic hypocrisy.

These are family values, mind you. They must be, at least in the minds of those responsible for this trial of a film, which is more akin to the tortures of the damned than the frothy yet tender holiday cinematic treat it thinks it is. Because the entire reason for the existence of Parental Guidance, it would seem, is to smack down what it sees as today’s simultaneously overprotective and overindulgent helicopter parents, as represented by Marisa Tomei (The Ides of March, The Lincoln Lawyer) and Tom Everett Scott (Mars Needs Moms, Race to Witch Mountain), and man, do I feel terrible for these two charming actors, forced into such unfair cartoonish impersonations of people (though they try their damnedest to make them as real as possible). This is the sort of movie that enrages me the most, because it makes me want to rush to defend people and ideas I disagree with. I’m being put in the position of championing people who refuse to let their kids have ice cream, and that’s probably the least of their parenting crimes. I don’t want to be here.

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Author : MaryAnn Johanson