It is more than a little frustrating when considerable talent is wasted on something banal and predictable and although we are happy to be proved wrong, this looks like being another wholly unsurprising family comedy.
Parental Guidance sees Bette Midler and Billy Crystal as grandparents tasked with looking after their grandchildren and wouldn’t you know it, Billy Crystal begins reluctantly but soon seems to warm to his lively charges. You can see where all of this is headed, even without the lazily sign-posted trailer and the occasional interspersing of funny set-pieces with more meaningful exchanges between the grandparents and their daughter (Marisa Tomei) seem to do little to elevate this above the humdrum.
No doubt this will find enough of an audience to financially justify its existence but it continues to provide evidence of the disconcerting and growing laziness within much of conventional Hollywood film-making. All of the adult actors are accomplished veterans and so manage to raise a wry smile here and there, but there is no sense of this being any sort of stretch for any of them. Sure, not every film they make needs to be aiming for awards and acclaim-laden glory, but it would be good to see something a little more imaginative than “grandparents look after lively kids, hi-jinks ensue”. Anyway, YouTube have the trailer for us to enjoy, following which you are welcome to let me know below whether you think I’m being harsh or fair. Parental Guidance is due out in the UK and US at Christmas time and further afield in the new year.