My grandmother had no friends. It was her choice, since her only concern was her family. I cannot recall a time when my grandmother did not have some home baked sweet treat ready for us to eat. Knowing I would be stopping by her house for Halloween, with my two buckets (I was always paranoid a shopping bag would rip); she would have bags of candy and licorice made up to pass out to me and my friends. She never said a bad word about anyone; her harshest criticism was saying the word “feh” to something or someone she did not like. My grandmother had nothing in common with the grandparents in this comedy. In fact, I do not know of anyone who have grandparents similar to the two in this film. Billy Crystal (Analyze This, When Harry met Sally…) and Bette Midler (Beaches, The First Wives Club) played grandparents Artie and Diane Decker. When their daughter Alice, played by Marisa Tomei (The Wrestler, The Lincoln Lawyer), asked them to babysit their three grandchildren; Diane jumped at the chance while reluctant Artie had no choice but to agree. However when the two elders’ old school way of child rearing smacked up to Alice and her husband Phil’s, played by Tom Everett Scott (Because I Said So, Dead Man on Campus), new school methods; all discovered they could still learn a thing or two about each other. If you happened to see the trailer, you already saw the best parts of this abysmal movie. Besides every humorous moment being predictable, I thought the characters Billy and Bette played were more like two comedians on the comedy circuit tour through the Catskills or Florida (no offense to those who live in either place). Having two actors gifted in comedic timing, I only wished the story had some original ideas for Bette and Billy to mine through and surprise moviegoers. Instead the actors seemed as if they were mugging for the camera. On a positive note, this film was suitable for most of the family; no vulgar language or sexual innuendos, only a little bathroom humor. For a movie like this I would have waited for it to come out on DVD. If my grandmother were alive to watch this film she would have said feh.
1 3/4 stars
There is nothing like being at a live concert, feeling the energy and power the performer(s) has over the crowd, it is amazing. Having attended a multitude of concerts, I have seen all kinds of artists in various stages of sobriety and dress. From a heavy metal band member taking swigs out of a bottle of scotch, to a singer so high on drugs he barely could stand up; some could not handle the power of being a star. I never understood how the artist’s closest friends and advisors could tolerate such behavior. If for no other reason job security–these performers are meal tickets. Inspired by the tragic life of Janis Joplin, this movie should be seen just for Bette Midler’s (Beaches, Outrageous Fortune) performance. Having seen Bette in concert, her character Mary Rose Foster was nothing like Bette. The movie was about the life of a self destructive rock star. As her popularity rose, the demands of touring were taking their toll on Mary Rose. Her manager Rudge Campbell, played by Alan Bates (Women in Love, Gosford Park), would push her by any means possible to keep her up on stage. This being Bette’s 1st major movie role, she was worthy of her Oscar nomination for best actress. With a mixture of power and vulnerability, she was the driving force in this musical film. Her concert performances in this movie were outstanding; I felt I really was at the show. There was nothing new about the story; most of us have heard the same with many movie and rock stars. From all the musical acts I have seen there are two performers that are extra special to me. They are Tina Turner and Bette Midler. I have seen them perform 3 hour concerts; singing live, dripping in sweat as they poured their life and emotions into each song. There is a saying that goes something like this, “Absolute power corrupts absolutely.” Watching this film I was reminded of so many great artists we have lost due to their destructive power. When this movie came to an end I wanted to hold up a lighter in the air like I used to at concerts.
3 stars — DVD