Harriet Lauler knows that she is in the twilight years of her life, and has had a long time to contemplate her legacy as a successful entrepreneur after she's gone. She's not willing to leave the writing of her obituary to chance, and so enlists the help of a the obituary writer at the Bristol Gazette Anne Sherman to write it the way she wants. Anne tracks down a bunch of people from Harriet's life to get a taste of the sort of woman she was - unfortunately, no-one appears to have a single nice thing to say about her. Harriet is determined to touch someone's life in an important way before she goes and visits a youth centre to get started. It's there she meets an adorable, street-smart young girl named Brenda who she employs as her 'intern' when she decides to become a DJ at the local radio station. The more Anne gets to know this woman, however, the more she finds her own life being changed by her new friend.
Continue: The Last Word Trailer
Cynical audiences will hate this simplistic, softhearted comedy, but for a bit of undemanding entertainment, it isn't too bad. And while the cast members don't remotely stretch themselves in these roles, they at least manage to get the emotion flowing in the predictable final act. And sometimes a bit of mindless silliness is just what we need.
Crystal and Midler play Artie and Diane, grandparents who have little contact with their uptight daughter Alice (Tomei), who lives on the other side of the country. When she decides to accompany her inventor husband (Scott) to an awards ceremony, she reluctantly agrees to let her parents take care of their three over-protected kids: burgeoning teen daughter Harper (Madison), shy son Turner (Rush) and mop-headed Barker (Breitkopf), a bundle of cheeky energy who immediately renames his granddad "Fartie". Of course, tech-phobic Artie and hug-loving Diane struggle to keep up with these children they barely know, but they're more resilient and far cleverer than Alice gives them credit for.
The script never tries to be sophisticated, announcing its important life lessons early on and never putting any of the characters in danger of not learning something. Meanwhile, the writers continually contrive the plot to keep Tomei on screen as much as possible, even though this kind of undermines the whole point of the grandparents being there in the first place. And every challenge faced by each character (there's a mini-plot for everyone) is fairly easy to navigate. But all of the actors manage to underplay the physical chaos while bringing enough charm to the film to keep us engaged.
Continue reading: Parental Guidance Review
Artie and Diane Decker are the aging parents of a working mother, Alice, whose busy lifestyle means she has to enlist the help of her parents to look after her three young children while she and her husband Phil go away on a business trip. While Diane seems enthusiastic about seeing her grandchildren, Artie is less motivated when he realises that his old fashioned, tough love parenting methods would be lost on the 21st century kids. Alice certainly realises she's got her work cut out trying to teach her stubborn father how to deal with them, remembering the many occasions he let her down when she was a child. Will Artie and Diane's 'second chance' at parenting teach them that their daughter has got the right approach? Or will the venture end in disaster?
This heart-warming comedy is a wonderful story about the unity of family. It is directed by Andy Fickman ('She's the Man', 'The Game Plan') and written by Lisa Addario and Joe Syracuse (previously having worked together on 'Lover Girl' and 'Surf's Up') with re-writes from Lowell Ganz and Babaloo Mandel (both of 'Tooth Fairy' and 'Robots'). It is set for release in UK cinemas everywhere on December 28th 2012.
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