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Barbed Wire: ‘Parental Guidance’

Barbed Wire: 'Parental Guidance'

Barbed Wire is the place where Criticwire celebrates the art of the pan. Here’s where you’ll find the roughest, toughest, funniest reviews, with easy access links to both article and author so you can follow more of their work.

Two films about old married couples opened in theaters last week, Michael Haneke’s “Amour” and Andy Fickman’s “Parental Guidance.” One was a brutal, agonizing movie about the aging process that left viewers emotionally devastated — and the other was “Amour.”

I kid, I kid. But while “Amour” ain’t exactly what you would call an uplifting movie, “Parental Guidance,” starring Billy Crystal and Bette Midler, ain’t exactly getting what you would call uplifting reviews either. So far, it’s received just twelve positive notices on Rotten Tomatoes out of nearly 75 filed reviews.

This family comedy finds Crystal and Midler agreeing to babysit their grandchildren for a week, whereupon they are shocked to discovered how foo-foo modern parenting techniques are ruining America’s next generation. In the spirit of Crystal’s old fashioned values, here’s some critical corporal punishment, the film review equivalent of a good spank on the tush — ten great lines from ten horrible reviews of “Parental Guidance.”

Brian OrndorfBlu-ray.com:

“I’d write that this is the worst production Crystal has been involved with this year, but we all saw the Oscars.”

MaryAnn JohansonFlick Filosopher:

“Artie is ‘hilariously’ unfamiliar with Facebook and Twitter, because Old People!”

Guy LodgeTime Out London:

“‘Use your words,’ a mantra popular in modern Montessori-style parenting, is repeated several times in the course of this aggressively processed family comedy. The scriptwriters, however, don’t appear to have taken it to heart.”

Linda BarnardToronto Star:

“Achieves the impossible: it makes ‘The Guilt Trip’ look like high art.”

Stella Papamichael, Digital Spy:

“Apparently there comes a point in every comic’s life when, after living on the edge for so long, they reach for the pipe and slippers and start doing toothless family comedies.”

Sara Stewart, New York Post:

“Let’s never speak again of the scene in which Crystal perches on a toilet with his grandson in a public bathroom, singing ‘Come out, come out, Mr. Doody.'”

Matt Pais, RedEye:

“Rather than fun for the whole family, ‘Parental Guidance’ is more like a hole for the fun family — a shrill, depressing pit where laughs and joy do not exist.”

A.A. DowdTime Out Chicago:

“‘There’s no cure for dumb,’ utters Billy Crystal’s minor-league baseball announcer in the opening scene of ‘Parental Guidance.’ Is this a preemptive deflection of blame?”

Stephen Whitty, The Star-Ledger:

“Everything ends in applause and hugs and snapshots and smiles. But not soon enough.”

Jordan HoffmanScreenCrush:

“There is only one place for ‘Parental Guidance’ to play – and that’s in Abu Ghraib prison, in an open ended run.”

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