As ensemble films go, usually one of the stars outshines the others. In "Parental Guidance," a sleeper hit from the recent Christmas season, Bette Midler is the one who gets a long overdue chance to strut her genius comedic chops. Hers isn't the central character, but she steals the show anyway.
"Parental Guidance" is a return to form for both Midler and Billy Crystal, who play aging grandparents to their daughter's three kids. In a rare turn of events, they are called upon to babysit their precocious grandchildren indefinitely. Marisa Tomei is their daughter, and she is at her neurotic best...old family wounds come to the forefront, and her husband (Tom Everett Scott) is caught in the middle.
As ho-hum as the plot sounds, it's the performances of the actors that lift "Parental Guidance" above the generic tone of other family comedies. With a raised eyebrow or two, hilarious facial expressions, and perfect comedic timing, Midler carries the film. Crystal is superb as well, and it's confusing why these two talents have never appeared together in a film before. The kid actors are top-notch too.
Typical special features appear on the "Parental Guidance" Blu-ray. We get an audio commentary from Crystal and director Andy Fickman (Midler apparently wasn't available for this). There are also deleted scenes, a gag reel, and on-set interviews with the actors. Yet it's the feature film that makes this disc a must-have.
Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack