Reviews provided by RottenTomatoes
With Parenthood, Howard as a director has discovered weight, but not gravity. For all of its admirable seriousness, the film finally floats away.
Parenthood easily could have focused exclusively on yuppie parents and their kids; however, the script by Lowell Ganz and Babaloo Mandel is more sophisticated than that, remembering that every parent is still a child too.
There's not a scene in Parenthood that isn't involving: The actors keep reaching into themselves and coming up with gold.
The fulcrum of the film is Martin. It's an adventurous and successful stroke of casting that takes advantage of what the audience expects from him.
New York Times:
Even being the most sensitive parent, the film reminds us, has its limits. No matter how hard you try, you can't live your children's lives for them.
It's the best kind of comedy, where we recognize the truth of what's happening even while we're smiling, and where we eventually acknowledge that there is a truth in comedy that serious drama never can quite reach.
There is something brave and original about piling up most of our worst parental nightmares in one movie and then daring to make a midsummer comedy out of them. It really shouldn't work, but it does.
Steve Martin's manically over-conscientious dad steals the film, whether chewing the pitch as his small son fumbles at baseball, or entertaining a kids' party as an unconvincing cowboy.
An ambitious, keenly observed, and often very funny look at one of life's most daunting passages...
Punchy entertainment for the open-minded family, the kind that realizes Home Sweet Home is -- well, an interesting idea.
A veritable diaper bag of laughs, it serves best as a sensitive guy's guide to fatherhood.
This movie has its share of laughs, but it's also Ron Howard's most personal film, and clearly his most ambitious.