By Drew Taylor | The Playlist September 8, 2012 at 11:30AM
It's going to be a tough decision for moviegoers who want to escape the family togetherness of Christmas Day for a few hours. They could either escape into the dusty, blood-splattered old west of Quentin Tarantino's "Django Unchained" or they could face something even more horrifying: a Bette Midler/Billy Crystal comedy called "Parental Guidance." Based on the just-premiered trailer (courtesy of Yahoo), this could be absolute torture.
Directed by Andy Fickman, who has had a bafflingly steady career directing utter garbage like "You Again," "Race to Witch Mountain," "The Game Plan," and "She's the Man" (which has become a tween-age cult classic – yes, seriously), "Parental Guidance" concerns two kooky grandparents (Midler and Crystal) who agree to babysit for their daughter (Marisa Tomei, clearly slumming it). Of course, their antiquated notions of parenting and discipline get in the way of the more enlightened style of their daughter. What follows will undoubtedly be lots of sequences of chaos (like Crystal getting hit in the balls with a baseball bat – can't go wrong with a classic) and, by the end, heartwarming scenes where the two generations of parents come to a deeper mutual understanding.
We're hard-pressed to pick out a single moment in the 2 minute + trailer we can identify as "funny," although Crystal's wry line delivery still does get us from time to time. This really does seem like a movie that traveled through some magical portal from the early nineties. Good grief.
"Parental Guidance" appears as the coal in your stocking on Christmas Day.