Kat Armstrong: Celebritease


Parental Guidance Opens Christmas Day

This wasn't the family comedy I was expecting

It was so great to be invited to a YMC event just before Christmas and catch up with a bunch of other yummy mummies this Wednesday to see Parental Guidance starring Billy Crystal, Bette Midler and Marissa Tomei. I haven't had a stomach for much since the horrific events last week in Newtown, CT and really needed to get out and catch up with some friends before this crazy year comes to an end. 

But I have to be honest, the movie as a whole just wasn't for me. There are some definite cute bits—the kids are AMAZING (especially the youngest little guy. His facial expressions are darling)—and Crystal and Midler's characters remind me a bit of my in-laws (especially in the sense that I think they don't get our "parenting style").  

The premise is simple, and you can see it from the trailers. A couple wants to get away for a week, but the husband's "good" parents are unable to come watch the grandkids. So, against mum's better judgment, she calls her whacky parents to come watch the kids. Mum and dad are "new age." They don't eat meat, don't give their kids "any sugar" and are sort of wet blankets. Mum, the business woman, is portrayed as overly dramatic and pushy, forcing her kids into all sorts of stuff that she wants for them (why is it that mums that aren't housewives are always portrayed this way?) but not actually doing what's best for them. Hubby is sort of just around.

Grandparents? Well, they're old school and don't understand what drove their daughter away. It's briefly touched on but never explained. 

The idea is very cute—new school versus old school parenting styles—but what we get here instead is cultural stereotypes about men and women, minorities, and "new-age hippies," most of which are kind of insulting. Bette Midler and Billy Crystal are passable as the grandparents and of course, The Divine Miss M sings, and Marissa Tomei is beautiful as always (and looks A LOT like YMC founder and publisher Erica Ehm. Like they could seriously be sisters). 

I think my favourite part of the whole night was just being able to get out, though, and not have to dodge news items on TV or radio and just get back to normal. Something we can all use on days like these. 

Happy Holidays, everyone and here's to a better, safer, and happier 2013 for everyone.