Anyone of a certain age will recognize the premise of “Parental Guidance,” the new Billy Crystal/Bette Midler film about the “other” grandparents. It comes out Christmas Day, just in time for the Jewish movie rush.
Artie (Crystal) and Diane (Midler) Decker are those grandparents, playing second fiddle to their son-in-law’s folks. But the parents are going away, the “real” grandparents are busy and that forces the scrubs into babysitting duty.
Alice (Marisa Tomei) and Phil Simmons (Tom Everett Scott) are very modern parents. They don’t give their children sugar and speak to them in a special way. You never say “no,” Alice instructs Artie and Diane. You say, “consider the consequences.” There’s never a “don’t,” but “maybe you should try this.” Supposedly, “that way the child feels he has value.”
Will Artie and Diane follow the instructions or will they bridge the generation gap by reverting to more traditional parenting means? Hey it’s a comedy. What do you think?
The man in charge of all this is Andy Fickman, named by Variety as a director to watch. He spoke to The Arty Semite about his Texas bar mitzvah, spotting Elijah one Passover, and winning dinners for two as a top tour guide at Universal Studios.
Curt Schleier: Were you thinking of your own grandparents and family as you directed the film?