COMEDY; PARENTAL GUIDANCE (1Hr 45 Mins) Certificate: U Starring: Billy Crystal, Bette Midler, Marisa Tomei, Tom Everett Scott. Director: Andy Fickman. Star Rating:

Article excerpt

GRANDMOTHER knows best in this intergenerational comedy of bad manners and frayed tempers, which welcomes Bette Midler back to the big screen after a four-year hiatus.

The Oscar-nominated actress and singer is the jewel in the tarnished crown of this film, with many of its best lines.

She looks resplendent in soft lighting, bridging most of the 19-year age gap to on-screen daughter Marisa Tomei, and also belts out an impromptu rendition of The Book of Love by The Monotones with co-star Billy Crystal.

The central clash between old-fashioned ideals and 21st Century desires has been portrayed in countless other comedies, and more deftly than the scriptwriters manage here.

They are suckers for mawkish sentimentality and burden each of the protagonists with an insecurity or quirk that needs to be salved by the end credits.

Artie Decker (Billy Crystal) and his wife Diane (Midler) are childhood sweethearts who have been married for more than 40 years.

Artie is a commentator for his local baseball team while Diane keeps in shape by pole-dancing with her gal pals. …