Parental Guidance (film)

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This article is about the American comedy film. For the Singaporean sitcom, see Parental Guidance (TV series). For other uses, see Parental Guidance.
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
Edited by Kent Beyda
Distributed by 20th Century Fox
Release dates
  • December 19, 2012 (2012-12-19)
Running time 105 minutes[1]
Country United States
Language English
Budget $25 million
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 19, 2012.[5][6] This movie was the last Dune Entertainment film to be distributed by 20th Century Fox.

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. He is disappointed because he loved the job.

Meanwhile, thousands of miles away in Atlanta, Artie's daughter, Alice Simmons, and her husband, Phil (who are type-A helicopter parents), want to go on a vacation for a nominated award for the R-life, Phil's invention for the ultimate smart-house. When his parents can't come in to look after their three kids, 12-year-old violinist and over-achiever Harper, 8-year-old baseball lover and speech stutterer Turner, and 5-year-old defiant and cheeky Barker (whose best friend is his imaginary friend Carl, a Kangaroo), she reluctantly asks Artie and his wife, Diane, for their help, since she dislikes how they don't listen to their parenting styles.

When Artie and Diane arrive, he tells the kids to call him Artie, with the intention to be buddies with his grandkids. He is quickly nicknamed Farty (a running gag in the film) by Barker.

Things don't start out well when Artie mixes together Barker's food, since he doesn't like his food to touch and ends up with the kids not wanting to be left alone with them. Alice ends up returning shortly, claiming it to be that one of her clients called and said she needs to immediately update their website. Artie then later ends up accidentally upsetting Turner when Artie talked to Cassandra, Turner's speech therapy teacher, on why they didn't speak at all.

Turner, due to his constant stuttering, is having trouble in school with a bully kid named Ivan. Artie creates havoc at Turner's Little League baseball game when he thinks that Turner struck out Ivan from the game, when actually every game Turner's little league baseball team plays ends in a tie. Artie then advises Turner to stand up to Ivan, but he ends up hitting Ivan first, who gets his little sister to help him.

Artie ends up making a spectacle of himself at the symphony, and later Barker ends up almost in danger at a skate park at the X-games when he needs to pee and Carl tells him to go on the skate track, where Tony Hawk is.

Alice and Phil return find out what happened with Artie and Barker at the skate park and return in a panic, but they find that Artie and Diane have been able to earn the trust and love of all three kids. They also deal with the "death" of Carl. At the end, Turner gets over his shyness and stuttering by telling a sound clip of baseball commentary to an audience at Harper's audition, which she ditches.


  • Billy Crystal as Artie Decker, an announcer for minor league baseball games who is fired at the start of the film. He 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 her that it was time to go to bed.
  • Bette Midler as Diane Decker, Artie's cheerful doting wife. She has a long history of weather girl jobs, which she obtained via charm and singing talent despite not having a degree in meteorology. She 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), Artie and Diane's daughter and mother of the three kids, all of which have their own problems. She 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 Phil Simmons, Alice's husband and inventor of RLife, a housekeeping system which monitors and controls virtually everything in the Simmons house. He is more loose and casual than Alice and is more supportive of her parents than she is.
  • Bailee Madison as Harper Simmons, the oldest child. She 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, she 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, he overcomes his shyness and then his stuttering, becoming a baseball announcer for his hometown's Little League baseball games.
  • Kyle Harrison Breitkopf as Barker Simmons, the youngest and problem child. Extremely rowdy and impetuous, he has an imaginary friend, a kangaroo named Carl, who is "killed" after being "ran over" by Mr. Cheng during the Film. He often makes fun of Artie, referring to him as "Fartie" frequently (a running gag in the film), and is often seen getting into trouble like sneaking away from the family during a concert, and messing up a session of XGames. Over the film's course he matures a little, giving up Carl and beginning to refer to Artie as Grandpa.
  • Gedde Watanabe as Mr. Nick Cheng, the owner of "Pan-Asian" Chinese Restaurant near the Simmons' house. They often eat there. He is very fond of Barker's imaginary friend, Carl, becoming hysterical when he accidentally "runs over" him.
  • 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.
  • Maverick 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 December 19, 2012 to July 11, 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 an 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]