The new Billy Crystal-Bette Midler comedy “Parental Guidance’’ has done relatively well at the box office despite dismal reviews. The film has reportedly earned more than $66 million while receiving a 19 percent positive rating from critics on the Rottentomatoes.com Web site.
Neil Pond of American Profile magazine encapsulated the feelings of many reviewers when he described the film as "a yappy pile-up of grandparents-know-best shtick, gross-out bathroom humor and sentimental claptrap."
Actually, he might have been kind. Liam Lacey of the Toronto Globe and Mail called the movie "one of those intergenerational embarrassment comedies in the Meet the Fockers line, where children can enjoy seeing grown-ups looking ridiculous."
On a positive note, “Parental Guidance’’ did provide an opportunity for some former professional ballplayers to work up a sweat and earn a few bucks on the side.
In the movie, Crystal plays Artie "Fartie" Decker, an aging broadcaster who is fired by the minor-league Fresno Grizzlies because he's out of touch and unable to relate to a younger audience through Facebook, Twitter and other new-age social media outlets. The filmmakers shot an early scene in the movie at Coolray Field in Lawrenceville, Ga., and put out a call for some real-life athletes to help provide authenticity.
Among the players with cameo roles in the film: Kevin Green, a former Atlanta Braves farmhand and the identical twin brother of veteran utilityman Nick Green; erstwhile San Diego Padres catcher Rob Bowen; and Brad McCann, the older brother of Braves catcher and six-time All-Star Brian McCann.
Brad McCann, 30, was an All-America third baseman at Clemson University and a sixth-round draft pick of the Florida Marlins in 2004. He hit 28 home runs for Greensboro in the Class A South Atlantic League in 2005, but washed out of pro ball in 2007. He currently helps run a hitting school in suburban Atlanta with father Howie, a former college coach at Georgia and Marshall University.
The McCann brothers recently took a field trip to the local cineplex to see "Parental Guidance," and Brian was thrilled to watch his brother's baseball action cameo on the big screen.
"He did great," Brian said. "He didn't rub it in my face or anything. It's like a bucket-list thing: He can always say he was in a movie."
And what was Brian's overall take on the film? He prefers to take a pass on providing a review.
"We stayed for 10 minutes to watch my brother's scene, and then we left," he said.