Parental Guidance (film)

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Parental Guidance
Parental Guidance film poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Andy Fickman
Produced by Billy Crystal
Peter Chernin
Dylan Clark
Written by Lisa Addario
Joe Syracuse
Starring Billy Crystal
Bette Midler
Marisa Tomei
Tom Everett Scott
Bailee Madison
Kyle Harrison Breitkopf
Joshua Rush
Music by Marc Shaiman
Cinematography Dean Semler
Editing by Kent Beyda
Studio Walden Media
Chernin Entertainment
Distributed by 20th Century Fox
Release dates
  • December 25, 2012 (2012-12-25)
Running time 105 minutes[1]
Country United States
Language English
Budget $25,000,000
Box office $119,772,232[2]

Parental Guidance (previously titled Us & Them[3]) is a 2012 American family-comedy film starring Billy Crystal, Bette Midler, Marisa Tomei and Tom Everett Scott and directed by Andy Fickman.[4] The film was released on December 25, 2012.[5][6]

When Alice and Phil leave their three children with their parents while off on a short holiday, the children learn important life lessons from their grandparents.


Artie Decker is fired as an announcer for the Fresno Grizzlies baseball team because he is not up on new technology and doesn't know how to use it. Artie is disappointed because he loved the job.

Meanwhile, thousands of miles away in Atlanta, Artie's daughter Alice Simmons and her husband, Phil, want to go on a business-related vacation. When Alice is not able to get her husband's parents to look after their three kids, 12 year-old Harper, 9 year-old Turner, and 5 year-old Barker, she reluctantly asks her father Artie and mother Diane for their help. This was a last resort, since she thinks they are "weird."

Artie and Diane agree to come take care of the grandchildren while their parents (type-A helicopter parents) are in Hilton Head, South Carolina for a few days. Artie tells the kids to call him Artie and never "Grandpa". He is quickly nicknamed Fartie by Barker, who is defiant and cheeky.

Harper is very tense due to her preparation for an upcoming violin audition. Diane advises her granddaughter to have some fun and not take the audition too seriously, exactly the opposite of Alice's parental advice.

Turner, due to his constant stuttering, is having trouble in school with a bully. So his grandfather encourages him to stand up for himself. Turner thinks he means getting into a fight, which results in Turner getting a black eye. Artie creates havoc at Turner's Little League baseball game as well.

Diane is determined to prove to Alice and Phil that they aren't just the "other grandparents." Problems arise when the kids' 21st-century behaviors collide with Artie's and Diane's old-school methods. And distracted by the possibility of finding a new job with ESPN, the network that employs his daughter, Artie makes a spectacle of himself at a skateboard competition and an attendance to the symphony.

But by the time Alice and Phil return, in a panic, they find that Artie and Diane have been able to earn the trust and love of all the kids.


  • Billy Crystal as Artie Decker, an announcer for minor league baseball games who is fired at the start of the movie. Artie is somewhat dense, occasionally forgetful, and not very good with technology, often causing him to come to heads with his daughter, Alice. His catchphrase that he uses at the end of each game, "Lights out, Alice", was meant to tell Alice that it was time to go to bed.
  • Bette Midler as Diane Decker, Artie's cheerful, doting wife. Diane has a long history of weather girl jobs, which she obtained via charm and singing talent despite not having a degree in meteorology. Diane is the one who makes the decision to watch the kids in the first place, leading to the events of the movie.
  • Marisa Tomei as Alice Simmons (née Decker), only daughter of the Decker family and mother to three kids, all of which have their own problems. Alice is very high-strung and often overbearing, but over the film's course she learns to loosen up and let her kids come into their own rather than monitor their futures.
  • Tom Everett Scott as Phillip "Phil" Simmons, Alice's husband and inventor of RLife, a housekeeping system which monitors and controls virtually everything in the Simmons house. Phil is more loose and casual than Alice and is more supportive of her parents than she is.
  • Bailee Madison as Harper Simmons, the oldest of the three kids. Harper is an incredibly talented violinist whose social and recreational lives suffer as a result of her constant practicing. Forming a close bond with her grandmother Diane, Harper learns to spend some time away from music and ultimately gives up an audition to an elite music academy to spend more time with her family and friends.
  • Joshua Rush as Turner Simmons, the middle child who is very shy and has a strong stutter to his voice, leading him to often seclude himself instead of facing his problems. With encouragement from Artie, Turner overcomes his shyness and then his stutter, becoming a baseball announcer for his hometown's little league baseball games.
  • Kyle Harrison Breitkopf as Barker Simmons, the youngest of the Simmons' kids and the problem child of the group. Extremely rowdy and impetuous, Barker has an imaginary friend, a kangaroo named Carl, who is "killed" by a car during the movie. Barker often makes fun of Artie, referring to him as "Fartie" frequently, and is often seen getting into trouble, sneaking away from the family during a concert and messing up a session of XGames. Over the film's course Barker matures a little, giving up his imaginary friend and beginning to refer to Artie as Grandpa.
  • Gedde Watanabe as Mr. Nicholas "Nick" Cheng, the owner of "Pan-Asian" cuisine restaurant near the Simmons' house, the family often eats there. Mr. Cheng is very fond of Barker's imaginary friend Carl, becoming hysterical when Cheng accidentally "runs over" the imaginary kangaroo.
  • Rhoda Griffis as Dr. Anna Schveer, Harper's dictatorial violin teacher who thinks she will never amount to a thing. She says that Harper should be "shunned" when she underperforms. Diane asked if she was the villain in the last James Bond movie and then puts her in her place by saying, "If you ever speak that way to my granddaughter again, there will be nothing left of you but some red hair and an accent."
  • Jennifer Crystal Foley as Cassandra, Turner's speech therapist who uses unconventional methods to get her patients to speak. Artie berates her by stating that he "speaks for a living" and she is getting her patients to "do anything but speak".
  • Cade Jones as Ivan, a boy at Turner's school who often bullies him.
  • Mavrick Moreno as Cody, a boy at Harper's school who has a crush on her.
  • Madison Lintz as Ashley, Harper's close friend.
  • Karan Kendrick as Preschool Mom
  • Tony Hawk as Himself
  • Steve Levy as Himself
  • Linda Cohn as Herself


Parental Guidance was released on December 25, 2012 in the United States and Canada and on December 26, 2012 in Australia, the United Kingdom and Ireland. Its international release spans from 25 December 2012 to 11 July 2013, with the first 2013 release on January 3, 2013 in the Dominican Republic, Venezuela, and Singapore.[7]

Home media[edit]

Parental Guidance was released on DVD & Blu-ray as well as for purchase via streaming on March 26, 2013 from 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment.[8]


Despite generally negative reviews, box office totals for the movie were higher than expected.[2][9] Reviews included a 18% rating on Rotten Tomatoes based on 84 reviews, with the consensus stating: "Parental Guidance is sweet but milquetoast, an inoffensive trifle that's blandly predictable".[10]


Year Award Category Recipient(s) Result Ref.
2013 Young Artist Awards Best Performance in a Feature Film - Supporting Young Actor Ten and Under Kyle Harrison Breitkopf Nominated [11]
Best Performance in a Feature Film - Supporting Young Actor Ten and Under Joshua Rush Nominated
Best Performance in a Feature Film - Young Ensemble Cast Kyle Harrison Breitkopf, Bailee Madison, Joshua Rush Nominated


External links[edit]