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Movie Review : Parental Guidance

ImageParental Guidance is a comedy that will catch families unaware and pull at their heartstrings. I thought I had prepared myself enough – at least, I knew it would have the entire theater shaking with laughter. What I didn’t expect was that this movie is an absolute tear-jerker.

Artie Decker (Billy Crystal) and his wife, Diane Decker (Bette Midler) agree to babysit their three grandkids for a while. However, their infrequent visits to their daughter Alice’s (Marisa Tomei) home sets them as “the other grandparents.” To make it even harder, the kids’ type-A helicopter parents have set countless rules and regulations in the household. When Artie and Diane’s old school ways of teaching clash with their grandkids’ 21st century problems, the family goes through a series of comedic misadventures and misunderstandings before they finally realize that despite the gap of generations, it’s learning to bend that brings a family together.

When you combine two of the greatest comedy legends, what you get is a heartfelt, down-to-earth, riproaring rodeo of fun. Every scene in the movie is filled with laughs for both kids and parents as well as hilarious hijinks that will thrill youngsters, including a sugar-high cake scene. The family’s relatable trio consists of Harper (Bailee Madison), an overachiever 12-year old; middle child Turner (Joshua Rush), a good kid with a stutter; and 5-year old Barker (Kyle Harrison Breitkopf) who has an imaginary friend. Artie and Diane try to connect with the kids in a way that will resound with viewers.

Some parents may disagree with Artie and Diane’s methods of parenting. Artie frequently bribes 5-year old Barker to be on his best behavior and to keep secrets. Barker never gets serious punishment for his bad behavior. Diane talks to Harper about the good ol’ days when she and her friends would have a fine night, drinking. Harper responds, aghast, “You want me to drink?” However, the characters grow and learn their lessons along the way.

This film has something for everyone, whether you’re a kid, parent, or grandparent. I felt the awkwardness between Harper and her crush. I exalted in that feeling of triumph with 9-year old Turner when he conquers his obstacles. I knew what it was like to lose a dream, and yet to find that there is more in life that’s waiting for the right time to show up. I could see the gap of generations and the formidable task of getting “up-to-date” with the “new school” way of things. I was touched by the mother and daughter relationship between Alice and 12-year old Harper. I understood the fragile father and daughter relationship between Artie and Alice.

Parental Guidance is eccentric, affectionate, and has some of the best lines in the comedy genre. Just remember that this movie is rated PG, and I say this not because of objectional content, but because after parents watch with their kids, they’ll want to host a family reunion. Parental Guidanceis a must-see gem that will strike audience’s hearts – perfect for a fun family outing to the movies.

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Movie Review – Bridge to Terabithia

Grade A

Starring Josh Hutcherson, Anna Sophia-Robb, Bailee Madison

MPAA Rating: PG

Genre: Drama

Everybody’s buzzin’ about the coming release of The Hunger Games. So, I decided to take a look into Josh Hutcherson’s acting past. He’ll be playing Peeta Mellark, co-staring with Jennifer Lawrence (Katniss Everdeen.) What better place to start than Bridge to Terabithia?

This movie came out a few years ago, in 2007. Based on Katherine Paterson’s book, all I remember was that it was about a fantasy world with trolls that looked like school bullies. Oh, and that it had two amazing actors.

And that I loved it.

I don’t quite remember what it was that made me love it but recently, I reread the book and rewatched the movie.

And then I found the reason why I loved it.

Artistic-handed Jesse Oliver Aarons would prefer to blend in with the crowd, coming from a large, financially struggling family where he feels as if he doesn’t belong. On the other hand, Leslie Burke, his new, well-off neighbor and already the weirdo/outcast of the school, is open-minded, has a great imagination, and is not ashamed of who she is. Even with their differences, they form an amazing friendship, and become the king and queen of Terabithia, their fantasy world. It’s only until a terrible tragedy occurs that Jess realizes what Terabithia has brought out in him.

Many people expected a Narnia-like film, coming from the producers of Narnia. Yet the storyline is not about the kingdom, but rather the moving friendship between such contrasting characters. Leslie challenges Jess to open his mind and see things he hasn’t seen before. Even hours after I had watched the movie, I was still contemplating every aspect that was brought out on screen.

It’s about two very real characters and their famalies. It’s about their not-so-perfect relationships with their parents. It’s about dealing with financial struggles, tag-along siblings, and bullies. It’s about connecting with the coming-of-age audience.

It made me cry. It’s definitely a tear-jerker. Josh Hutcherson (Jess) and Anna Sophia-Robb (Leslie) were absolutely beautiful in their roles, but the real screen-stealer was Bailee Madison, who played the little tag-along sister.

I enjoyed it immensely, and I have to say, it will remain one of my favorite movies forever. Like I said, it gave me a lot to think about. Watch it with your family!!!


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