Amid the movie's comic scenes, he and Midler's characters work to reconcile with their estranged daughter, played by Marisa Tomei.
We got a few minutes with the comic genius during a break.
"Hi, I’m Billy,” he said, sitting down in a canvas-backed chair.
Here’s a Q & A from our visit:
Q: Tell us about "Parental Guidance."
A: We wanted to make a fun movie that had a good heart. A whole family can enjoy this movie.
Q: It's somewhat autobiographical?
A: This is how the whole thing started. Janice [his wife of 30+ years] and I had the kids for five days.
Q: Oh, my.
A: That was the original title of the movie: "Oh my!" Kids are the toughest take-home exams. Listening is more important than talking.
Q: What do your grandchildren[ages 8, 5 and 2] teach you on a daily basis?
A: To take a deep breath before I bend.
Q: Did they sort of serve as consultants for the movie, to ensure the movie authentically portrayed young people?
A: They don't even realize it. You watch them and get ideas for scenes.
Q: What did your grandparents teach you when you were a child?
A: Don't put your finger in the pot! [His grandmother was a great cook.] They taught me love, responsibility.
Q: Tell us about your character in this movie, Artie.
A: He's a minor league baseball announcer who's just gotten fired. He's not in good shape.
Q: So while it's a comedy, it sounds like the movie also touches on more serious, real-life issues.
A: It says something about fractured families. It's all about real things.
Q: Eddie Murphy seems a little stressed about hosting the Oscars. What advice do you have for him?
A: You're always nervous about it. Just have fun! He's a great talent.