On the surface, Parental Guidance seems pretty simple. Billy Crystal and Bette Midler star as grandparents who butt heads with their daughter (Marisa Tomei) on how to bring up her kids. The Christmas Day release is directed by Andy Fickman, who has made hit movies (The Game Plan, Race to Witch Mountain) but never good movies (consider She’s the Man, and You Again). Knowing all that, expectations are suitably curbed and the first trailer largely enforces the predictable, holiday cookie-cutter image you might have in your head.

But then the trailer says the film is about “New school vs. old school” ways of parenting and shows somes differences between tough love, Baby Boomer parenting and the softer coddling style of Generation X. Which got me thinking, maybe this movie has something to say? Maybe it’ll be good? Am I giving Parental Guidance way more credit than it deserves? Watch the trailer and decide for yourself.

Here’s the trailer for Parental Guidance from Yahoo.

First things first. It’s nice to see Billy Crystal and Bette Midler back doing big Hollywood movies, don’t you agree? They seem to have great chemistry here and even if they don’t in the final result, who cares? They’re American icons and I’ll see the movie just because they’re in it.

Then there are the dumb, obvious jokes. The inappropriate, but not quite funny, comments. Parental Guidance looks extremely milquetoast. But the fact that there’s a scene where Crystal’s character goes off about the stupid “There are no losers” rules in a modern Little League game made me really happy. 21st century parenting that enforces an inability to face adversity makes me unfathomably mad and if a tenth of the movie drives home a point about how kids need stronger role models, then it’ll be money well spent.

Parental Guidance hits theaters December 25. What do you think of the trailer?

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