Generally unfavorable reviews - based on 20 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 1 out of 20
  2. Negative: 6 out of 20
  1. Reviewed by: Owen Gleiberman
    Dec 26, 2012
    In the occasionally funny but mostly facile '80s-style culture-clash comedy Parental Guidance, Billy Crystal, who now resembles a very cute puffer fish, plays Artie Decker.
  2. Reviewed by: Elizabeth Weitzman
    Dec 26, 2012
    Crystal and Midler are such confident pros that their crack timing elevates even substandard material.
  3. Reviewed by: Wesley Morris
    Dec 26, 2012
    Parental Guidance is overly generous with regard to the silliness. However, it's not clueless. Crystal seems determined to give as generously as he gets. When a bully whacks him, Crystal covers the bully in vomit. Good for him.
  4. Reviewed by: Manohla Dargis
    Dec 26, 2012
    It could be worse, and would be without Bette Midler or Marisa Tomei.
  5. Reviewed by: Michael Phillips
    Dec 31, 2012
    The pathos: considerable. The sight gags, involving Crystal puking chili dog on a kid's face, or the grandson with an imaginary friend peeing and causing an X Games skateboarder to wipe out: artless. The results: tolerably amusing.
  6. 50
    Parental Guidance is one of those intergenerational embarrassment comedies in the "Meet the Fockers" line, where children can enjoy seeing grown-ups looking ridiculous.
  7. Reviewed by: Carrie Rickey
    Dec 26, 2012
    Parental Guidance is an engaging comedy that bridges multiple generation gaps, making it that rare movie that grandparents, their kids, and their kids can enjoy.
  8. Reviewed by: Michael O'Sullivan
    Dec 26, 2012
    It's hard to know who exactly Parental Guidance was made for.
  9. Reviewed by: Nathan Rabin
    Dec 26, 2012
    Parental Guidance is the abysmal grandpa/grandkids bonding comedy he's (Crystal) been destined to make since he first started creating new comedy with an unmistakable old-person smell.
  10. Reviewed by: Bill Goodykoontz
    Dec 25, 2012
    This is the first time in ages some of the old stand-up Crystal shows through, flashes of quick wit instead of Borscht-belt antics. Not to the extent that it used to in such movies as "When Harry Met Sally ..." (which was, ahem, 23 years ago). But better than you'd expect...Just like the movie.
  11. 50
    Billy Crystal and Bette Midler hustle to peddle the threadbare material that makes Andy Fickman's comedy a perfectly tolerable, if uninspired, moviegoing experience.
  12. Reviewed by: Peter Hartlaub
    Dec 26, 2012
    Perhaps anticipating an older audience, most of the lessons are one-sided, with the old-timers seemingly harming the children while actually saving them.
  13. Reviewed by: Mary Pols
    Dec 26, 2012
    I can't deny I did feel fonder of my own family afterward, mostly because I know none of them would ever make me sit through Parental Guidance.
  14. Reviewed by: Sara Stewart
    Dec 26, 2012
    Parental Guidance kicks off with a mean-spirited joke about an overweight woman and heads downhill from there.
  15. Reviewed by: Scott Bowles
    Dec 23, 2012
    The movie spends too much time wedging the couple into a May-December moment, where Crystal cracks nostalgic about the good old days. It's sweet, but it grows old.
  16. Reviewed by: Brian Lowry
    Dec 23, 2012
    The execution, alas, prevents this from being a genuine crowdpleaser, with the better moments (mostly of the schmaltzy variety) more than offset by the irritating and tedious ones.
  17. Reviewed by: Emma Dibdin
    Jan 11, 2013
    The kids are charmless, the writing is bland, and the embarrassing jokes sound like nails down a blackboard.
  18. Reviewed by: Mark Olsen
    Dec 26, 2012
    Lazy, smugly self-satisfied movie.
  19. Reviewed by: Leah Churner
    Dec 26, 2012
    The actors deserve credit for the professionalism they bring to this stinker, especially Tomei, who plays it straight as a contemporary have-it-all-or-die-trying mom, and Midler, who's given little to do, but works up an amusing backstory about her days as a good-time gal on the evening news.
  20. Reviewed by: Tomas Hachard
    Dec 23, 2012
    Andy Fickman's comedy offers a confused and flat portrayal of generational differences.
User Score

Mixed or average reviews- based on 74 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 13 out of 31
  2. Negative: 9 out of 31
  1. Dec 26, 2012
    Sad and stupid little movie. Billy Crystal must have naked photos of the studio execs in compromising positions. otherwise this film never gets made. I wanted to laugh but instead I was filled with a sense of loathing for Hollywood. This movie is worth seeing just to test your pain threshold. As a point of reference I also thought City Slickers was unfunny. Lighting your money on fire would be a better use of funds than investing in this garbage. Full Review »
  2. Dec 26, 2012
    Funny as hell I thought. Crystal, Midler and Tomei are spot on. So what if the story is schmaltzy. It made me laugh a lot. What's a comedy supposed to do? Full Review »
  3. Jan 3, 2013
    We went with our kids and grandkids (ages 12 & 14) to see this film and all of us liked it. It's not great art, nor does it break much new ground, but it made us all laugh. Parts of it are over the top, but there are parts that feel genuine. I had not expected to like it, but I did in spite of myself. The short scene at the end of the credits is worth waiting for. Full Review »