The Kid (2000) Poster

(2000)

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6/10
I liked it more than I expected to
mauricio-195 February 2001
I saw this on a plane. You know, you are strapped to a chair and forced to watch whatever garbage they put up there.

And I have to say I actually had fun. Some scenes are sugary and over the top but the kid's performance is above average for children actors. Casting was perfect.

One thing though: the music is inappropriate, heavy-handed and sometimes ruins the scenes. It is like asking Richard Wagner to write for an intimate comedy. Very weird.

But I strongly recommended the movie to my mom. It is that kind of movie.
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6/10
This could have been much worse
philip_vanderveken27 May 2005
When this movie was shown on television, it wasn't announced as "Disney's The Kid", but just as "The Kid", a movie with Bruce Willis, and that's probably a good thing. I'm pretty sure I would never have taped it if I knew this was a Disney movie, fearing that all the syrupy nonsense would be too much for me to handle. Still, I don't know what made me decide to give this movie a try when I saw the title in the beginning of the movie, but in the end I was glad that I watched it, because it certainly wasn't as bad as I feared it would be.

Bruce Willis is Russ Duritz, a wealthy L.A. image consultant who's about to turn forty. He's a cynical workaholic who has estranged from his father, who has no memories of his childhood and who doesn't have a girlfriend, a family or even a dog. One night he surprises an intruder, who turns out to be an almost 8 years old kid. But there is something strange about him. The chubby kid is named Rusty and has a lot of similarities with Russ. Soon they find out that Russ and Rusty are actually the same person. Together they make a journey into Russ's past to find the key moment that has defined who Russ is. How this is possible, what it all has to mean and how it will affect both their futures will only be clear at the end of the movie.

In a way this is a very typical and predictable Disney movie with it's rather innocent and naive look on life, but I guess it can be enjoyable for adults as well. It is all very recognizable and it is a nice fairy tale about losing touch with your inner child. It certainly isn't the best movie ever, but it is some decent and heart-warming family entertainment that offers some nice acting and a good story. I would say: watch it with an open mind and you'll see it isn't as bad as you feared. I give it a 6/10.
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7/10
No kidding - I loved it!
Shiva-1111 July 2000
The Kid - At 39 years old Russel Duritz has a life that most men would envy - he has a great job, is respected (and feared), has a beautiful house and makes buckets of money. But everything comes at a cost, in this case no social life, no conscience and a fear of spending the rest of his life alone. He just needs someone to show him the way.

As I watched the movie, I kept wondering why Disney didn't pass this film on to Miramax - not because it's particularly daring or edgy, but because it is clearly a movie for adults. This is exacerbated by the marketing campaign which is clearly targeting children - it is lumped in with trailers for "Rugrats the Movie", and "Pokemon 2000" (aren't they passe yet?). But I quibble.

I was impressed by the sensitive treatment of the subject matter - rather than the typical male midlife crisis that involves some pathetic sap buying a Porsche convertible and acting like a moron, Willis' character undertakes some serious introspection and takes stock of his life. His guide on this journey of self-discovery is himself at age 8 (they never explain how Rusty arrives and frankly, I didn't care). Young Rusty's innocence and unbridled optimism give him a distinct advantage in divining the truth - he sums up Russell's job as an image consultant thusly, "You teach people how to lie and pretend to be something they aren't". In order for a good script to succeed, however, you need actors to bring it to life. Not a problem here.

Although Willis has thrice ignored W.C. Fields' warnings about starring with children or animals he has lucked out once again, meshing as well comedically with Breslin as he did dramatically with Osment. Willis manages to balance Russell's cutthroat powerbroker traits with vulnerability and confusion, without becoming ridiculous. Breslin meanwhile gives a dead on portrayal of a kid from everyone's childhood - the one that always stuck out for some reason and got picked on. We also get two bonus performances: Lily Tomlin is great as Russell's levelheaded assistant and Jean Smart is perfect as an insightful charming anchorwoman (I loved her in "Guinevere").

The Kid is charming, heavy, and real. And it will appeal to adults of all ages.
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8/10
The Kid In Us All...
JackReese9 July 2000
When the first trailer for this film was viewed by myself, I was curious as to what angle the storyline would take. After all the plot of having one's childhood self return to the present leaves open many options. Bruce Willis however does a superb job in the role he was given. I was surprised to see just how well he could act in this part. This is also a good career move as many others have said but after seeing it I now agree. This film is mainly about remembering the kid you used to be, and coming to the realization that you aren't the adult you planned to be. This is a wonderful story and a gripping tale that makes us all think. Usually we scorn at "What if..." movies. For example, Waterworld attempted to answer the question "What if the world were to be covered with water and...?" But truthfully, nobody cared. This movie however effects everyone in the theatre. True, young children may not fully grasp the idea of growing up and having all your dreams fizzle away, but it leaves a great impact on the adults and parents of those children. This movie is definitely worth seeing. Although, it will be better the second time around because you won't be thinking so much (about how the kid got there, and why and all that stuff) Just relax and have fun. And take something with you when you leave that cinema. Take that piece of your childhood you've forgotten and enjoy it.
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10/10
So..what's keeping them from making more like this?
mark_r._mcdonald18 August 2000
From a perspective that it is possible to make movies that are not offensive to people with strong moral values, this one is definitely worthwhile. This is the second Bruce Willis film in a row that manages to tell its story with no nudity, off-color humor, profanity, or gratuitous violence. (I refer of course to The Sixth Sense.) Both movies are engaging on more than one level. This one is appropriate for children as well, although as others have pointed out, it isn't a flick FOR kids.

I was bothered that the time travel device that drives this plot is never explained, except that we know Russell himself initiates it as a 70 year old. Also, why does his dying mother have to come to school to get him when he wins the fight; why, if as his older self says, he has to fight that kid again and again for the next few years does his mother not have to come and get him every time, and why he doesn't learn to kick butt in the process. I also found the score rather annoying and not always appropriate to the action on stage.

Good use of the red plane as metaphor, however.
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10/10
The Kid The Man The Girl,oh and don't forget Chester !
buzznzipp199512 February 2007
Now for sure, this is one of the lightest-hearted stories that Bruce Willis has been in to date and yet,-- it is still touching. I really like Bruce's style and persona, I haven't loved everything he has ever been in, but he brings it to the 'Big-time' for me in most all his film endeavors.

The story begins..... He is power, confidence and style with a capitol 'S' . He drives a Porshe he lives well, in a palatial estate with a grand view of the fair city. That's Russell Duritz. He is an image consultant to those who are on the top or rising to it. His acclaim, he is Russell Duritz, he knows what it takes to make it. It just seems that as life is going along swiftly and foundation-ally set, there is a problem, an intruder at his home, the alarm has been activated!

Russell can't seem to figure out (for the moment) what is happening to him. It's different and yet it is somehow familiar. A small boy, who looks exactly like....-- him. As their lives run smack dab into each other, there seems to be a reason that is screaming out to him, "You have unfinished business to take care of, now!"

Amy the supporting young lady of the story is probably the best balance that he has seen and has in his life. She works with him, puts up with his 'ego' and yet, she is smitten with Russell. Very much so. With Rusty his past 'self' now in the picture and talking a mile a minute, singing too late at night, everything that was foundational is becoming like jelly!

Willis is fun, egocentric and at times out of his head in this lovable Disney modern times classic 'The Kid' and to add his little heavy-duty side kick Spencer Breslin is a perfect addition to this sparkling story of childhood to adult and back to childhood adventure. Chi McBride is an inspirational supporting character, as he is the heavy-weight champ, teaching 'little' Rusty how to box to defend himself against the bullies on the playground.

All in all this is a real winner of a movie with even Lillie Tomlin as the secretary and aide to Russell. I originally saw this back in 2000' and then again years later, with equal enjoyment. This is a shiny family comedy that has a super ending that will warm the hearts of any Disney fan Recommended highly (*****)
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10/10
Bruce Willis in a good feel good movie.
famousgir17 December 2001
The Kid is a really good family movie about a stuffy image consultant, Russ Duritz, who has lots of money, a good job, nice house, etc. The only problem is he doesn't have much of a social life as nobody seems to like him as he isn't always very nice. One day though things are about to change when an eight year old version of himself magically appears. This gives Russ a second chance to make things right. Bruce Willis plays the lead role here and he gives a really good performance. The Kid is a nice, heart-warming movie for everyone.
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8/10
For all the cynics out there.
tzehoong27 March 2002
"The Kid" is a movie that will touch the hearts of two groups of people - children and grown-up cynics. In the leading role is Bruce Willis, who in my opinion must be one of the most versatile actors around. He plays the part of the cynical jerk Russ very well :).For most of the movie you cannot help but to hate him as he constantly ridicules the weaknesses of the people around him, and love him as you somehow know that there's a tiny seed of kindness waiting to grow.

Emily Mortimer is extremely lovable as Amy, who works for Russ. Her acting is good, and I have to admit that I had to succumb to her cuteness- and I doubt anyone could help but to cheer her on through the whole story, she's so good as Russ's employee, who would like to like him, but gets shoved off every time she tries to be nice.

The story is fun and imaginative. Russ's eight-year-old self travels to the future to meet him as a thirty-nine year old. The young Russ doesn't think much of Russ's achievements (chickless, dogless...) while Russ doesn't want to remember that he was once an overweight, whiny loser.

Don't write it off as just another family movie thinking that you'll be able to predict the whole storyline. You won't. Sure, the guy gets the girl, and young Russ and old Russ grow to like each other and help each other out.

But as you watch the final ten minutes of the movie, as things start to get wrapped up, you will suddenly sit erect, brain churning, and when you figure it all out, you lie back, try to keep back the wide grin that is forcing itself on your face, give up, and say "Holy smokes!"
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6/10
A Kid's Movie For People in Their 40s
mintonmedia23 June 2000
The surprise is not how good this film turns out to be. With Willis coming off of "Sixth Sense" and Jean Smart and writer Audrey Wells following up on the underappreciated "Guinevere", I suspected there just might be something going on here. The surprise is how what is being pushed as a Disney kid's film is actually a funny, moving and rather mature fable about losing touch with the child you were and the adult you wanted to be. The kids in the audience were restless. The parents were laughing...and a few even sniffling. Not a great film, but a darn good one, with a message that will probably go over the heads of anyone under 30.
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6/10
"Holy Smokes!"
gwnightscream11 February 2017
Warning: Spoilers
Bruce Willis, Spencer Breslin, Emily Mortimer and Lily Tomlin star in this 2000 comedy. This takes place in L.A. and Willis (Die Hard) plays Russ Duritz, a cynical, image-consultant who's about to celebrate his birthday. Soon, he's visited by 8-year-old kid, Rusty (Breslin) whom he learns is his childhood self and they help each other face their challenges/obstacles of the past and future. Mortimer (Scream 3) plays Amy, a friend & co-worker of Russ and Tomlin (9 to 5) plays his secretary, Janet. I've always liked this film, it's got humorous and a couple of heartfelt moments and Willis & Breslin are great in it. I recommend this.
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6/10
I was expecting superficial junk, but it was actually pretty good.
grunin3 July 2000
Turns out it's not really a kids' movie - it's the story of a guy's mid-life crisis - but my kids (9 & 4) didn't seem bored. There were a couple of scenes where I expected the worst kind of saccharine cliches, but they actually turned out okay.

Willis is above average, Lily Tomlin is basically perfect, and even the kid (Spencer Breslin) doesn't make you cringe.

As far as the writer (Audrey Wells), it was about as good as her 'The Truth About Cats & Dogs' and better than 'George of the Jungle'. It will appeal to people who liked director Turteltaub's other big films (Phenomenon, While You Were Sleeping, Cool Runnings).
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9/10
not just a kid movie
KathND30 July 2000
While my kids enjoyed the movie (and announced afterward that they want to buy it later) I think I got more out of it that they did. The scene in the airport shop at the beginning is real life (I did not use the cutting comment aloud, but I thought it). It is a feel good mid-life movie, a bit sappy and some scenes work less well than others (why does the kid stay with Bruce Willis after he knows his Mom is dying?), but all in all and good time. It also gave our family something to talk about - did my kids think my life was boring? What do they expect at 40? How can you not like a movie that gets a good conversation going with your kids?
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profound,amazing
xuguodong13 July 2001
I have been always wondering "Can one truly explain the meaning of life in less than two hours?" And here I got the answer after watching this movie for 3 times. This is certainly one of the greatest films I've ever seen. Disney tries to make the film in an interesting and lovely way so it can appeal to both the kids and the adults. But what lies behind the film by far beyond the comprehension of a normal kid. Here, let's first look at how other comments put it: `The movie starts by completely neglecting even an attempt at explaining how 8-year-old Rusty shows up on 40-year-old Rusty's doorstep" But this is not true. Actually the film made a hard work demonstrated how Russ (Willis) --a successful image consultant and a rich jerk was haunted by the hallucination of a flying plane which was actually the same kind of a model given to him by his father as a present. Here Audey Wells present all the viewers a question as a shrimp in the later plot suggested it: you're having hallucination for a reason and you need to figure out what that reason is.But at that time, the film is not in a hurry to explain the reason. Later on Ross's hallucination got stronger and he even imagined a boy intruded into his house. Even more the hallucinated boy lead him to an old drome. From there Ross's dream or more accurately the psychiatric journey of exploring himself began. That exploration filled most of the film till the 8-year-old Rusty disappeared on the same drome (notice only at that time Russ's clothes changed back to the sleeping pajama). The main part of the film (that's what I called the exploration) centered on the questions that had puzzled Russ these days: What's wrong with him? Why he always said somebody call the Ouaaaaaaaaambulance? Why he had a twitch? What happened from being little Rusty and becoming Russ? What will be supposed to do with the relation with Amy? And finally what he will be doing in the later time of his life? The film did an excellent job in explain all these questions. Evenmore it raised another question: Is Russ really a loser? Here Jean Smart said something very inspiring: I mean how many of us grow up to be astronauts or prima ballerina? We just all do the best we can. This film presented the normal theme of midyear crisis in a swift and clever way without lacking of provoking thought.The main character especially Bruce Willis and Jean Smart worked very well to helped achieve visual effect as well as the profound theme.Russ got the answer and know what to do next, what about us?
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7/10
Feel Good Family Comedy From Disney
bsmith555214 August 2001
As a word of explanation, Disney's "The Kid" has absolutely nothing in common with the Charlie Chaplin 1921 classic of the same name. What we do have is a pleasant enough, though unbelievable, feel good family comedy as only the folks at Disney can provide.

Bruce Willis, in a change of pace, plays a self-centered stuffed shirt of an "Image Consultant". He degrades, not only his clients, but those close to him as well. You know that he is going to have to change before the final credits.

Into his life comes a chapter from his past in the form of Willis' character as a nerdy 8 year old played with cutesy pie conviction by Spencer Breslin (Disney always finds these kids somewhere). This forces Willis to come to grips with his past and well..you know the rest.

Appearing as Willis' love interest is Emily Mortimer and Lily Tomlin as his Executive Assistant. Both have little enough to do as most of the movie involves the inter-action between the Willis and Breslin characters.

"The Kid", though not the greatest of Disney movies is one nonetheless that you can sit down and watch with your family and come away from with a warm feeling.
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A surprisingly good movie; better than "Armageddon"
coverme626 July 2000
At first glance, I thought "The Kid" was a cheesy, pathetic

children's movie because of its PG rating. But, when I viewed, I

had to eat my words. "The Kid" is one enjoyable movie! Bruce

Willis stars in probably his first Disney movie as Russ Duritz,

a workaholic executive who is given a visit by his past, in the

form of a chubby 8-year old, played with giddy intensity by

Spencer Breslin. Soon enough, Russ is picking up the pieces of

his dead-end life with the help of his time-traveling little

counterpart.

With good-natured performances, especially by Willis, who seems

fresh and awake, not grim and foulmouthed, like his previous

material. Breslin is also a hoot as the young Rusty. For one

thing I'll tell you, "The Kid" outruns "Armageddon" by a million

points, at least that's why lies in my o
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10/10
This film is not for kids, but rather for the kid in us.
Figaro-81 August 2000
It is so nice to see Bruce Willis come down off his action throne and let us see that he really is a talented actor. He shines in this film as the near-40-year-old image consultant who has totally lost touch with his inner child--until he meets him face to face. This is one of those rare films that doesn't talk down to its audience and truly offers something for the WHOLE family. It is about caring for each other, keeping some of the child inside you, and realizing that you don't grow up exactly the way you thought you would. Willis seems to be building an impressive track record for working with kids (just witness "The Sixth Sense" with Haley Joel Osment), and he has great chemistry with Spencer Breslin here. There is some nice photography and music, and the ending is wonderful and uplifting. A great film to see with EVERY member of your family.
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6/10
somebody call the Ouaaaaaaaaambulance....
Mickey Knox19 December 2000
The Kid is a funny film that brings us a Bruce Willis in a totally new kind of role for him. Bruce is an adult without a wife or family, without becoming what he wanted, but very very rich. Oh, and also without a dog. Everything's normal til one day a kid enters his house. Who? The adult at the age of 8. The kid hepls Bruce understanding the real values of life and manages to change him into a better person.

Bruce plays for the first time in a film like this. He's great as Russ, the rich guy in search for the "better he". But the MVP of the film is definetely Norman Spencer, the kid. He is adorable. And most of all, he acts very very well.

Still it's predictable and the ending is not as good as i expected. Also a few questions remain unanswered.

All in all, The Kid is a good comedy, for both kids and adults, a family movie that will make you think. Think about your life, what you've accomplished.

Vote: 6.5 out of 10.
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3/10
Starts Off Cute, Then Gets Ugly
ccthemovieman-11 April 2007
Like a lot of movies involving little kids, this starts off "real cute" and likable...and then, after about a half hour or so, becomes the reverse.

That's certainly the case here in this time-travel story (which I usually love) where an adult meets a kid who his really him at the age of eight! Great premise and a great lead actor in Bruce Willis, but.....

The kid "Rusty" is a smart-aleck and whiny brat and Willis Rusty grown up now as "Russell" gets abrasive with his constant yelling. That is entertainment? No, thanks.

Young Breslin has gone on to become a very good child actor, being involved in a number of films including "The Cat In The Hat" opposite a more famous child actor: Dakota Fanning.

Overall, a disappointing film, especially with all the good press this movie got when it was released.
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8/10
What a great and unsung family film
MartinHafer10 June 2007
The often family-unfriendly Bruce Willis did a fine job in the movie, but the one I really liked was the pudgy and just plain adorable kid, Spencer Breslin. He made this film by both his adorable behaviors, poignant ones and his ability to act. There are many horrible child actors out there and fortunately for this film, Spencer wasn't one of them. I loved this film and it's sad that most didn't seem nearly as impressed as evidenced by its relatively low IMDb score and critical responses to the film in the media. Sure the main idea was a bit over-used (such as in BIG and VICE-VERSA among many others), but the film was not just another re-tread but had a lot to offer and a really great deeper meaning. Plus, while the film was marketed more towards kids, it was great for adults as well and I loved the movie.
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8/10
Not just for kids
FlickJunkie-214 February 2001
`The Kid' is a sappy but easy to like film that pretends to be a comedy for kids when it really deals with an adult topic that is beyond the comprehension of its target audience. Russ Duritz (Bruce Willis) is days from his 40th birthday. His life is hardly full of mirthful joy. He is a dour, unhappy, impatient grouch who is brilliant at his work and alienates everyone he meets. Suddenly an eight-year-old boy appears, who he realizes is himself as a child, a part of his life that he has effectively blocked from memory. The interaction between him and his former self brings about an understanding of the forces that are affecting his life today and fosters a transformation to a happier Russ.

The story touches on heavy, soul-searching ideas in a very lighthearted way, which makes Audrey Wells' (`The Truth About Cats and Dogs', `George of the Jungle') script innovative and fresh. Its deeper implications are certainly far over the head of Disney age kids, but hit home with their parents. However, there is enough childlike silliness to keep the kids entertained while their parents ponder the true meaning of the film.

After his previous project, the heavy handed `Instinct', Director John Turteltaub shows amazing adaptive ability in being able to switch to a lighthearted comedy with equal effectiveness. His direction of the actors is terrific, and he is able to create scenes that are appealing to children, but not so juvenile that it puts off the adults. In addition, his 50's period schoolyard scenes are very accurate as to costumes, props and feel of the period.

Bruce Willis shows his versatility, giving a terrific comedic performance, unafraid to scream and stomp around like a kid to achieve the proper effect. Once again, he displays extraordinary chemistry with a child actor, making it seem more as if they are playing together than acting. Spencer Breslin is cherubic and believable as the kid in his first feature film. Lily Tomlin adds her wry comedy to the mix and is perfect as Russ's overwrought assistant. Jean Smart also deserves special mention, giving a sensitive performance as the stranger on the plane who becomes Russ's confidant.

This film has a lot to recommend it. It is entertaining and funny and it has a deeper message ensconced within the childish mischief. I rated it an 8/10. It is an enjoyable film that isn't just for kids.
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1/10
Pretty Flubbery
guyb29 April 2001
The first few minutes showing the cold and crusty the Willis character were pretty enjoyable, especially with Jean Smart, but it really tanked after that. This is just hackneyed big man and little irritating kid stuff from way back with no innovation at all. I know that the casting probably picked this kid to show that Willis was just as irritating in his younger self, but I found this kid ESPECIALLY irritating and whinney.
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7/10
Heartwarming revisit to childhood
HotToastyRag25 June 2019
After acting alongside child star Haley Joel Osment in the previous year's The Sixth Sense, Bruce Willis went on to make another movie with a child actor: The Kid. Don't worry, folks. This one is actually family friendly. It's a Disney movie!

Bruce stars as a rude businessman who's lost touch with his humanity. A freak accident happens, and Spencer Breslin shows up in his living room. It turns out, Spencer is Bruce Willis's character at eight years old. Obviously, he's there to teach his grown-up self a lesson or two, so he tags along with Bruce throughout the movie. These types of films are very smart, since they appeal to everyone. Kids like any movies with kids, teenagers usually like the adult star, and grown-ups always cry during movies about remembering and rediscovering childhood. These movies are usually more meaningful the farther you've gone from your happy youth, so depending on how miserable you are, you might need to stock up on Kleenex. I liked this one, because it's always nice to see Bruce Willis in a movie where he can show off his sensitive acting chops. Action movies are fun, but so is versatility. Keep an eye out for Emily Mortimer, Lily Tomlin, Jean Smart, and Juanita Moore in the supporting cast.
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8/10
Very enjoyable
brad382377 April 2018
I am not a movie reviewer. This is a very enjoyable movie. Why did it cost $65 million to make this movie?
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5/10
Not as good as "The Sixth Sense" but Better Than "Mercury Rising"
zardoz-1318 March 2008
Warning: Spoilers
Hopefully, "Disney's The Kid" qualifies as the final entry in the Bruce Willis co-starring with a child actor movie trilogy. "Disney's The Kid" lands somewhere between "Mercury Rising" and "The Sixth Sense." Obviously superior to the mediocre "Mercury Rising," this routine but upscale time travel comedy falls far short of "The Sixth Sense." Instead of Bruce bailing out his immature cohort, the juvenile pulls Bruce's chestnuts out of the fire. Comparatively, "Kid and "Sense" both concerned supernatural phenomenon, but "Kid" lacks the suspense of "Sense." Scenarist Audrey ("Shall We Dance") Wells has contrived a tolerably entertaining but predictably sentimental yarn where a well-heeled bachelor businessman, about to turn forty, unexpectedly finds himself confronted by himself when he was age eight! Sound like a comic whirl on the Dennis Quaid & Jim Caviezel father-son thriller "Frequency?" Not only does Bruce-at-forty meet himself-at-eight, but he also later gets a glimpse of himself-at-sixty! Clearly, any movie where the hero collides with himself from the past as well as the future simultaneously has at least a modicum of potential. Sadly, however, "The Kid" suffers from an anemic, half-baked script that offers few revelations and fewer delights. Worse, "The Kid" degenerates into demographic Mickey Mouse ideology. In this world, according to Disney, a loser is any guy who neither has a wife nor a dog by age forty.

"Instinct" director Jon Turteltaub uses the opening reels to establish the cold, abrasive, egotistical character of Russell Duritz (Bruce Willis), a fashion conscious Los Angeles 'image consultant' with all the compassion of a shark and the knack for keeping politicians and corporate fat cats from committing public relations suicide. When it comes to behaving a curmudgeon, Russell rivals the obnoxious Jack Nicholson character in James L. Brooks' "As Good As It Gets." Russell cannot stand to hear anybody cry, and he considers his time so valuable that he rations it out to his clients.

Russell's administrative Girl Friday, the tireless but under-appreciated Janet (Lily Tomlin) relays all his messages and runs his errands. Ostensibly, Janet serves as his umbilical cord with reality. The surprise is that anybody in their right mind would put up with his antagonistic personality. Loyally, Janet sticks with Russell through thick and thin. At one point, she finds herself compelled to lie for him, so that Russell can evade his estranged father, Sam Duritz (Daniel von Bargen of "The General's Daughter"), who only wants to invite him home for a long-overdue family supper. Once Turteltaub and Wells have delineated Russell's unpleasant character, they bring on eight-year old Rusty (Spencer Breslin) who turns Russell's life into chaos.

Initially, Rusty materializes mysteriously at Russell's palatial house as an unwelcome anonymous munchkin with a late-model toy airplane, skirting Russell's sophisticated home security alarm system. Earlier, a red biplane buzzed Russell during rush hour traffic, and Rusty's red baseball jacket associates him with the aircraft. Eventually, the red model airplane toy comes to epitomize innocence lost, rather like the sled 'Rosebud' in Orson Welles' 'Citizen Kane." When Rusty shows up the next time, Russell jumps into his Porsche and pursues the chubby cherub on a bike across L.A. into an airport. Following junior jumbo into an old-fashioned trailer diner, Russell discovers later that the diner was a figment of his imagination! Finally, Russell corners Rusty rather anti-climatically when the latter changes the TV channel at the former's mansion. Presumably, Rusty wanted to be caught, because earlier he propelled his obese butt into and out of a couple of cliffhanger situations with Russell at his heels. Alone together in Russell's house, they compare scars (one reminded me of the Nike check symbol) as well as personal idiosyncrasies and eventually they conclude that they are one in the same. What began as an episodic, down-to-earth character comedy rapidly takes a turn for the Twilight Zone that recalls another Turteltaub movie "Phenomenon." Audrey Wells' amusing but sophomoric wish-fulfillment fantasy poses a number of questions that everybody has pondered. She appropriates eight-year Rusty as the mouthpiece to expose Russell's mid-life crisis. After he accepts who they are, Rusty takes a dim view of his adult accolades: "I'm forty. I'm not married. I don't fly jets and I don't have a dog? I grow up to be a loser!" More than last year's split-personality masterpiece "Fight Club," "Kid" conjures up schizophrenia of the worst sort. Whereas "Fight Club's" hero divested himself of the spoils of materialism, "The Kid" reforms its rude, arrogant bachelor hero so that he will wed, raise a family, and pass along the baton of life in the relay race of civilization. After all, the anal retentive Russell had committed the worst sin by refusing to renounce his selfishness and give something back to society.

Clearly, the Disney propaganda machine is very apparent in Wells' homage to "It's A Wonderful Life." Of course, there is a happy ending with several hard lessons before the triumph. Rusty takes older Russell on a trip back to the past and the pivotal event in high school that warped his life. Evidently, some school yard bullies beat the overweight Rusty up and threatened to ignite a bunch of firecracker tied to the next of a three-legged dog called Tripod (Victimizing a dog is the last straw in schmaltz!) If Rusty can vanquish the bullies, he can live the life that the sought in his dreams. Basically, Russell gets the chance to learn the same lesson at age eight that he learns at age forty so he can give his life a make-over.

The first casualty in both Wells' saccharine script and Turteltaub's heavy-handed helming is subtlety. Admirably, Willis makes every effort to offset this offensive sugar-coating with his "Scrooge"-like performance. Ultimately, this hearken-to-your-inner-child, feel-good, yuppie pabulum falters because the comedy lacks hilarity and the messages about conforming to the ideals of consumer society are facile.
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7/10
Refreshing
kg223848 July 2000
Warning: Spoilers
I found this movie an excellent exercise in the study of the child psyche and how it develops into the adult psyche. It really jogged my memory and got me thinking. It is interesting how much of our lives (or at least mine) is built around forgetting our failures in the past and proving to our present selves that those failures do not amount to our selfworth. And the saddest part about it is if that's how we look at it then we've already lost. By employing those safeguards against the past we are accepting that those events are what define our worth. (spoiler)Only when Russ(Bruce Willis) stopped defining who he was by acting against who he used to be could he actually realize the root of the problem. His own self worth. And he remedied that by accepting who he was instead of trying to prove he was better than himself. A powerful lesson I think all of us(or at least I know I) could benefit from.
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