Parental Guidance

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Not recommended under 8, PG to13 (Violence, disturbing scenes)

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Parental Guidance
  • a review of Parental Guidance completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 8 January 2013.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 8 Not recommended due to violence and disturbing scenes
Children 8 -13 Parental guidance recommended due to violnce and disturbing scenes
Children aged 13 and over OK for this age group

About the movie

This section contains details about the movie, including its classification by the Australian Government Classification Board and the associated consumer advice lines. Other classification advice (OC) is provided where the Australian film classification is not available.

Name of movie: Parental Guidance
Classification: PG
Consumer advice lines: Mild themes
Length: 105 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

Dianne (Bette Midler) and Artie (Billy Crystal) have become estranged from their only daughter Alice (Marissa Tomei) and their three grandchildren, Harper (Bailee Madison), Turner (Joshua Rush) and Barker (Kyle Harrison Breitkopf). Alice and Phil (Tom Everett Scott) have very different views about parenting from their own parents and usually keep them at a distance to prevent them having an influence on their children. It is with great reluctance therefore, that they ask them to babysit while they go away for work.

Dianne is determined to make a good impression to stop herself and Artie being seen as ‘the other grandparents’, but their much more relaxed and ‘laissez-faire’ style of parenting predictably causes much mayhem.


Children and adolescents may react adversely at different ages to themes of crime, suicide, drug and alcohol dependence, death, serious illness, family breakdown, death or separation from a parent, animal distress or cruelty to animals, children as victims, natural disasters and racism. Occasionally reviews may also signal themes that some parents may simply wish to know about.

Parenting styles; family conflict

Use of violenceinfo

Research shows that children are at risk of learning that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution when violence is glamourised, performed by an attractive hero, successful, has few real life consequences, is set in a comic context and / or is mostly perpetrated by male characters with female victims, or by one race against another.

Repeated exposure to violent content can reinforce the message that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution. Repeated exposure also increases the risks that children will become desensitised to the use of violence in real life or develop an exaggerated view about the prevalence and likelihood of violence in their own world.

There is some violence in this movie including:

  • Barker gets really angry with Artie for mixing up his food – calls him evil Artie.
  • Barker pulls his Mother and tries to drag her away from the car.
  • Ivan, a school bully, spits on Turner.
  • The children have an ice-cream cake fight.
  • Ivan hits Artie in the crotch with a baseball bat.
  • Artie vomits over Ivan.
  • A skateboarder crashes on the halfpipe after Barker pees on it.
  • Artie tells Turner to stand up for himself against the school bullies. He comes home with a black eye after apparently hitting one of the bullies who then turned on him.
  • Harper has a very demanding violin coach who is quite nasty to her. Dianne threatens her with physical violence if she ever talks to Harper like that again.

Material that may scare or disturb children

Under fiveinfo

Children under five are most likely to be frightened by scary visual images, such as monsters, physical transformations.

In addition to the above-mentioned violent scenes, there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children under the age of five, including the following:

  • Barker has an imaginary friend called Carl, a kangaroo. Barker runs out on the road and narrowly misses being hit by a car but he believes Carl has been hit and is now dead. The family go along with this and bury the imaginary Carl in a box in the garden.
  • Artie and Turner are watching Saw on the television and are both scared by something they see on the screen

Aged five to eightinfo

Children aged five to eight will also be frightened by scary visual images and will also be disturbed by depictions of the death of a parent, a child abandoned or separated from parents, children or animals being hurt or threatened and / or natural disasters.

In addition to the above-mentioned violent scenes and scary visual images, there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children aged five to eight, including the following:

  • Artie takes Barker to a public toilet which is in quite a disgusting state with derelict people living inside.

Aged eight to thirteeninfo

Children aged eight to thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic threats and dangers, violence or threat of violence and / or stories in which children are hurt or threatened.

Younger children in this age group could be disturbed by some of the above-mentioned scenes

Thirteen and overinfo

Children over the age of thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic physical harm or threats, molestation or sexual assault and / or threats from aliens or the occult.

Nothing of cncern

Product placement

The following products are displayed or used in this movie:

  • Cheerios
  • XGames

Sexual references

There are some sexual references in this movie, including:

  • Artie comes home to find women learning to pole dance in his lounge room.
  • Some mild sexual innuendo between Phil and Alice.

Nudity and sexual activity

None of concern

Use of substances

There is some use of substances in this movie, including:

  • drinking at various places and at home
  • Dianne lets it slip out to Harper that she used to smoke

Coarse language

There is some coarse language in this movie, including:

  • Some name calling such as ‘poopyhead’ and ‘Farty Artie’.

In a nutshell

Parental Guidance is a family comedy with some crude humour, violence, including bullying, that might be imitated and lax parenting by grandparents. As such it is more suited to older children and adults.

The main messages from this movie are that family is important and you should accept differences of opinion.

Values in this movie that parents may wish to reinforce with their children include:

  • Childhood should be a time of fun and enjoying simple pleasures rather than just learning how to be adults.

This movie could also give parents the opportunity to discuss with their children attitudes and behaviours, and their real-life consequences, such as:

  • The lax attitudes of Artie and Dianne such as giving the children toy water pistols when their parents don’t let them play with guns, allowing Turner to watch an adult movie and letting Harper dress up like a teenager with make-up on to go to a party her parents would not have allowed. Should they have shown more respect for their daughter’s values?