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Steve Martin , Mary Steenburgen , Ron Howard    PG-13 (Parental Guidance Suggested)   VHS Tape
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (51 customer reviews)

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Ron Howard's 1989 hit, written by fellow family men Lowell Ganz and Babaloo Mandel (Splash, A League of Their Own), is an original comedy about contemporary life and the eternal responsibilities of raising children. Steve Martin has never been better than as a dedicated husband and father trying (and inevitably failing, as do most of us) to balance the demands of his kids and his job. The actor, like his character, throws himself into the part quite touchingly, never more so than in a scene where a hired clown fails to show up at a children's party and Martin's character unabashedly provides the entertainment. Good as Martin is, this is actually an ensemble piece with numerous actors playing members of the same family, with cross-generational joys and disappointments in the air--and parents in conflict, children in love, and so on. Jason Robards is very good as a patriarch who finally accepts the reality that the son he adores (Tom Hulce) is a major screwup. --Tom Keogh

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars nice April 29 2008
By elfdart TOP 500 REVIEWER
this movie was great because it dealt with 'the family', with life, as something messy. it felt more real to me than other movies dealing with the same material because it was almost dark for a family movie. don't get me wrong... it's not at all depressing or dystopian, but it isn't the typical disney 'it's all flowers and sunshine' either. it dealt with (granted) stereotypical problems parents and children face. because all of the families in the movie were related we got to see a bunch of different types of family dynamics, and it was also interesting to note that they interacted normally with each other, even though we the viewers know they all have their problems. there was the single mother who had the two teenage children, so we get to see hormonal problems there. one of those kids has a boyfriend whom she marries early, though they're still high school aged. there is the stereotypical tv family with the early middle aged couple who have three young kids. steve martin's the dad in this one so they're kind of the focus family (also because that's the stereotypical family) and they have trouble with their eldest son who has emotional problems. then there is the child prodigy family, the guy puts everything into making his little kid a genius and ignores his wife, and finally the grandparents who have to deal with one of their kids coming home with a grandchild they've never seen before and a son in debt.

big schpeal aside... because the movie addresses actual lows that families go through instead of just supposing those issues and not actually addressing them, the highs they go through are that much more believable. and the roller coaster metaphor at the end of the movie was nice too. at the end they accepted the chaos and tried to make the best of it, which was nice.

i have to be in the mood for it, and when i am this is one of my favourite movies.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Very Good now July 12 2004
When I first saw this movie about 7 years ago I did not like it. I did not get why it was so funny back then and thought it all rather sad.
But I tried and it was worth it! It is sometimes very gripping in what happens in the lives of people, though it is sometimes a little exaggerated, like in an Irving book.
It is also funny. The things that happen in itself are hilarious, and sometimes also there are some funny things interspersed ("Take Grandma away from the Nintendo").
The part of Keanu Reeves is also interesting. He plays a dumb guy like in Bill and Ted's excellent adventure. There is a touching scene where he talks to his wife's mother about her son's masturbation ("That's why little dude's do"). Even though he is the stupidest, he has the best advice.
Tom Hulce is brilliant as the youngest gambler son. The dad, useless in the beginning, now finally realized what he has to do.
It is a funny movie and sometimes touching. One of the better Steve Martin movies.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Overpriced, no-frills DVD of a wonderful movie May 5 2004
This is a wonderful, heartwarming film that always manages to make me laugh AND cry....that's why I wanted to own a copy. Unfortunately, the DVD lacks any special features to enhance it (especially frustrating since it's a comparatively expensive one!). How tough would it have been for Ron Howard, Steve Martin or any of the supporting cast to offer a commentary track?
That's why I'd recommend it as a rental only. Dianne Wiest and Helen Shaw deliver exceptional performances...Steve Martin's at his most charming...the child actors are superior and it's one of Mary Steenburgen's best performances.
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1.0 out of 5 stars "No widescreen", "NO SALE"!!!!! May 5 2004
This is such a good film that ranks in the top five of Steve Martin films, with such a great supporting cast and a truly original and funny screenplay for them to work with, it just seems a shame that we the consumer had to wait more than a decade for a "Pan-Scan" DVD release of this great family film, I'm sure alot of people would agree with me that it's like watching 1/2 of the original movie. I hope the distributer of this DVD gets copies of all these reviews and then thinks twice about the next movie he "butchers" by releasing it in a "Pan-Scan" format on a DVD because he just lost a lot of sales due to the lack of a widescreen version of this DVD and "I am sad to say I'm one of those lost sales".
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By Bricktop TOP 500 REVIEWER
What the hell are full screen releases doing by themselves. Even with a small TV I still prefer to watch widescreen. This movie came out in the 90's. Not only is there no reason as to why the Widesceen release is non-existent but there is also no reason why there is not a Dolby 5.1 track available.
When will the studios wake up and realize that more and more people OF EVERY age are buying home theatre systems. WAKE UP!
Here is a copy of a review I agree with:-
It is unacceptable, in 2004, to have any film released on DVD without a widescreen version at least on the other side of the disc. Shameful. This is such a great film. But remember, you're only seeing about 2/3rds of it since the studio chopped off the left and right sides for you.
Totally unacceptable. Please do not buy this disc. Perhaps that will motive the studio to release the film in its original theatrical aspect ratio so we can actually see the whole thing.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Love it at any age! Jan. 25 2004
By D. Dyer
This film came out when I was still in High School. I absolutely loved it then. Now, as a parent, it make's me cry and laugh even harder. My parent's even love it from both parental and grandparent views. It has passed the generation and the evolution of one's self, test. I give it 5 stars for sure!
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Most recent customer reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars Why screw up such a great movie with a pan/scan DVD?
It is unacceptable, in 2004, to have any film released on DVD without a widescreen version at least on the other side of the disc. Shameful. This is such a great film. Read more
Published on Jan. 14 2004
5.0 out of 5 stars Flawless film, comic, touching, endearing, and real
This is a great film. Keanu Reeves is fabulous as is everyone in the cast. Just so nicely done. Parenthood and choices and pressures and not having the answer and what to do... Read more
Published on Nov. 16 2003 by Alicia Walker
4.0 out of 5 stars Who couldn't relate?!
Parenthood is a funny, touching film. I'm not a big Steve Martin fan but he does a wonderful job in this movie, capturing the loving family man who finds himself dealing with... Read more
Published on Sept. 26 2003 by Kim F.
1.0 out of 5 stars Not in "Widescreen?"
This is one of my top twenty movies of all time. It isn't in wide screen format? What were they thinking? I'll never buy it unless they release it in widescreen! Read more
Published on July 11 2003
3.0 out of 5 stars Good Movie!!
I like Steve Martin, Parenthood is not my favorite of his movies but it is good and the kids are adorable especially the little boy with the blond curly hair who played his son and... Read more
Published on March 31 2003
5.0 out of 5 stars Sweet, charming, and quality family humour
Steve Martin has certainly been known to play some off-beat zany characters in his day, but this is a more light-hearted and sensitive role for him. Read more
Published on Sept. 22 2002
4.0 out of 5 stars Please, a better DVD for this wonderful movie
I agree with other viewers that "Parenthood" deserves a better DVD version -- with letterbox presentation, special features, commentaries etc... Read more
Published on July 7 2002 by "peterdao"
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