Hollywood Wrap

Crystal, Midler offer advice in 'Parental Guidance'

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Among the many end-of-the year box office entries is a family-friendly comedy starring Bette Midler and Billy Crystal. "Parental Guidance" looks at the "old school" versus "modern family" approach to child-rearing.

Generations clash over the way they think children should be raised in the new comedy "Parental Guidance." And no matter where you fall in the family dynamic, this film offers a point of view for everyone to feel something familiar.

"The best comedies are the ones that you can look at the screen and go, 'That's me,'" said Crystal. "And so in this movie you'll say 'That's us,' because it's about grandparents, it's about parents, it's about kids, and everyone can go together."

Bette Midler and Billy Crystal play grandparents who volunteer to babysit their grandkids in an effort to get closer to them. But they find themselves struggling to understand the techniques their daughter is using raise the children.

Both stars say that in real life they've learned not to offer any unsolicited opinions.

"Oh, you have to bite your tongue all the time," said Midler. "You must never speak your mind. It's so tempting to dispense advice, and I used to be a big dispenser of advice, but not anymore. My husband has cured me of the habit."

As a couple, the two stars share an easy chemistry. And director Andy Flickman says he got to witness it from the first time they all got together.

"The very first dinner we had where everyone was sitting down, just the three of us, within five minutes I was the kid at the kids' table with my parents who could not help -- they were finishing each other's sentences. And I knew I had a movie," said Flickman.

These two show-biz veterans have been friends for decades, but "Parental Guidance" marks the first time they've actually been able to work together.

"It makes so much sense, I know, and we haven't," said Crystal. "We've known each other for a long time, and never really spent a great deal of time together."

"Parental Guidance" is rated PG.

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