Parenthood could be dismissed as nothing more than a feel good movie for yuppies struggling with the complications of raising children. If it were not so well made, it most certainly would suffer that fate. Clearly, it is targeted at a certain demographic group. After all, the subtitle says, "It could happen to you."
The movie is about the parental challenges faced by four siblings. Gil Buckman is a self-conscious dad, desperately concerned about being a better parent than his own father. His sisters are struggling with their own family issues: one a single parent and the other trying to raise a genius-child. Gil's brother is the black sheep of the family - shirking responsibilities and always looking for a free ride.
The story begins when Gil and Karen are told that their son Kevin must go to a special school next year due to his behavior problems. They begin to blame each other and then they come up with various crackpot ideas.
"We'll throw away the TV," Gil blurts out. "We'll perform Shakespeare in front of him."
Interlaced with the humor is a multigenerational parenthood story. Frank is the family's patriarch, and Gil is one of his children. Most shows concentrate on the kids, but this show stays true to its title and focuses almost exclusively on parenthood itself, including relationship of adults to their parents. Gil flashes back with daydreams about his relationship with his father when he was young, and forward to a dream of his son being valedictorian and thanking him in the commencement speech. When things don't go quite as Gil wishes, the dreams turn to nightmares of Kevin being a campus sniper.
Gil resents the way his father ignored him when he was young. Gil does not understand Kevin either although he certainly tries...