Reviews provided by RottenTomatoes
Mary F. Pols,
I can't deny I did feel fonder of my own family afterward, mostly because I know none of them would ever make me sit through Parental Guidance.
New York Times:
Does it work? You betcha. There are smiles and tears, love and affirmations, a few funny jokes and a lot of easy sentimentality.
While its senior stars do a terrific job capturing aging in a youth-crazed culture, Guidance drops the ball, in all departments, in its portrayal of anyone younger than 55.
From a bounty of low, low moments in "Parental Guidance," it's difficult to choose the absolute lowest.
[It] might as well be called AARP Presents: Billy Crystal Is Old, And What's Going On With All The Facebooking And Twittering And iPods?
Thanks to Crystal and Midler playing comfortable versions of the personas we've come to know, it's actually better than you would guess.
This grating family comedy resembles a sitcom in its flat lighting, patronizing music cues, and frames supplying little visual information apart from the actors' mugging faces.
After a while it seems to run out of jokes, maybe to make room for all the crying and hug-it-out family redemption in the last half hour.
The end result should appeal to audiences, including bonding grandparents and grandkids, looking for a little undemanding holiday cheer.
If you're looking for an all-ages crowd-pleaser, this may be your best bet.
New York Daily News:
It's a shame they didn't choose a stronger project than Andy Fickman's family comedy, but you could certainly ask for worse babysitters.
New York Post:
Parental Guidance kicks off with a mean-spirited joke about an overweight woman and heads downhill from there.
Parental Guidance is an engaging comedy that bridges multiple generation gaps, making it that rare movie that grandparents, their kids, and their kids can enjoy.
San Francisco Chronicle:
Director Andy Fickman opts against subtlety at every turn. A score filled with heavy strings and the occasional ringing of chimes telegraphs all emotional cues, practically willing the water out of your tear ducts.
Globe and Mail:
One of those intergenerational embarrassment comedies in the Meet the Fockers line, where children can enjoy seeing grown-ups looking ridiculous.
Say what you will about The Guilt Trip, another pairing of a nebbishy comic and a diva of a certain age, that movie at least offers two recognizable human beings of different generations meeting in the middle and learning something from each other.
The latest in a long run of 2012 films to confront the indignities of ageing, this one is arguably, if not intentionally, the most harrowing.
The execution, alas, prevents this from being a genuine crowdpleaser, with the better moments (mostly of the schmaltzy variety) more than offset by the irritating and tedious ones.
An extended "in my day" joke intended to convey the superiority of old people over a lot of supposedly contemporary behavior that doesn't actually exist in real life.