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Occasionally corny, yet thoroughly entertaining, PARENTHOOD is a movie by, for, and about parents. Four generations are portrayed by an all-star cast, delivering a lesson in child-rearing worthy of Dr. Spock. Jason Robards plays Frank, the head of the Buckman clan. Gil (Steve Martin),
Helen (Dianne Wiest), Susan (Harley Kozak), and Larry (Tom Hulce) are his children; all of them have kids of their own. Gil tries to balance his career with being the attentive father Frank never was; divorcee Helen has her hands full with son Garry (Leaf Phoenix), who is badly in need of a male
role model, rebellious teenage daughter Julie (Martha Plimpton), and burn-out son-in-law Tod (Keanu Reeves). Susan does her best to give her toddler a childhood while husband Nathan (Rick Moranis) has the precocious kid studying karate, long division, and Kafka. With his own illegitimate son in
tow, prodigal son Larry has returned home deeply in debt to some very rough customers. All of these situations get worse before they get better, but by film's end the family is closer than ever. PARENTHOOD's coscreenwriters Ron Howard, Lowell Ganz, and Babaloo Mandell--the fathers of 14 children
in all--have produced a funny, poignant script with very contemporary humor. It is the acting, though, that shines brightest in the movie. Rarely has such a formidable array of talent been assembled for one film, and theirs is truly an ensemble effort. While PARENTHOOD crosses the border into
schmaltz a number of times, the movie runs the gamut of realistic emotions, and one scene or another is bound to hit home with the parents who see the film.