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Overall Rating

Awesome: 7.69%
Worth A Look: 25%
Average: 13.46%
Pretty Bad46.15%
Total Crap: 7.69%

5 reviews, 22 user ratings

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Kid, The (2000)
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by Erik Childress

"Willis' Best Movie In Years"
4 stars

In a summer movie season that’s reached its halfway point, we’ve already had four films (not counting the modern version of Hamlet) that carry the same title as earlier movies. Some are remakes or follow-ups of their original counterparts (Gone In Sixty Seconds, Shaft) while others boast the same title yet are completely different stories (Gladiator, The Patriot). Disney’s new film The Kid falls into the latter category. And while no one will confuse the 2000 version with Chaplin’s 1921 classic, it may be likened to several other, more recent fantasy/comedies. As every cynical blood cell in my body tells me that I shouldn’t like a movie like this, I found myself along for the ride, laughing and caring nearly every step of the way.

Bruce Willis adds yet another child co-star to what is quickly becoming a sub-genre of his career. After North, Mercury Rising and The Sixth Sense, you would think Willis would be tired (along with most of his audience) of playing yet another advisor to a child actor. But here he is once again, playing a nearly 40-year image consultant, who advises figures in the public eye of how to conduct themselves and sometimes, if necessary, to avoid jail time. He has issues with his father (Daniel Von Bargen), sending him a check rather than help him move, and is very demanding of his wisecracking secretary (Lily Tomlin) and his loyal assistant, Amy (Emily Mortimer). Then one day, some mysterious things start happening. He is nearly scalped by a low flying red bi-plane. Then a toy model version of that plane shows up outside his door along with an intruder that he can’t seem to catch. The intruder is a little pudgy 8-year old (Spencer Breslin), who not only happens to share the same name of Willis’ character, Russ “Rusty” Duritz, he also shares the same scars and birthmarks. As amazing or improbable as it may seem, 40-ish Russ is able to meet 8-ish Rusty. Himself.

What transpires next is a series of humorous getting-to-know-you bits, where each incarnation of Russ/Rusty expresses disappointment in each other in the way they were and the way they grew up. Old Russ doesn’t want to be reminded of the childhood he has tried so hard to forget while Young Rusty is upset that the dreams he had as a child would not be fulfilled once he became an adult. This sets up an intriguing set of circumstances paralleling the childhood fantasies about growing up to the daily responsibilities that one has as a adult professional. Both Russ and Rusty don’t understand their destiny in meeting each other, so each tries to discover what their purpose is. How can they help each other? This is the central query that the screenplay presents and it resolves itself through a number of interesting plot twists (that I wouldn’t dare reveal), including a final one that will come off as silly if you’re not with the movie. Myself – I had a big smile on my face.

Bruce Willis finally gets to do what I’ve been saying he should be doing for years – comedy. He’s a natural at light comedy, as he showed in Moonlighting and in selected spurts through some of his better action roles, and he’s very funny here. Freaking out at what he believes are hallucinations, he begins to form a natural rapport with Breslin, who doesn’t over or under-act as most child actors are prone to do, creating some wonderful unforced laughs. And as good as the two of them are together, forming the heart of the movie, my hope is that the breakout star of the film will be British actress Emily Mortimer, who is absolutely winning in this film. With her infectious smile and charming accent, she pulls off the kind of fetching performance that makes you wish she was a part of your life. Other notables are Lily Tomlin, who gives more to what seems like a throwaway role and Jean Smart as an up-and-coming anchorwoman thanks to some free advice from Russ, who gets to give probably the film’s best speech.

Disney’s The Kid joins a long line of recent fantasy stories about men in or about to enter middle age and the changes they’d like to or wish they had made. It may not rank in the upper echelon of fare such as Groundhog Day or Field of Dreams, but it’s in that same spirit. Many are likely to be struck by its similarity to this year’s Frequency, where a man was able to talk to his deceased father 30 years in the past by use of a ham radio. But The Kid succeeds where that film failed, by sticking to its main premise and dealing with different intriguing issues without having to resort to a stupid serial killer subplot. If The Kid wasn’t so much of a (Disney) family film, it might have been able to dig a little deeper and become the true classic its inspired premise promises. In its current form, The Kid is a delightful, innocuous family film, one that kids will enjoy as well as adults. Sure, its syrupy in parts and it’s clearly a well-intentioned, yet simple little film, but I had a smile on my face for the better part of it, including the wonderful simplicity of its final scene. And if I have to choose a Bruce Willis film with a child co-star in it, I would pick The Kid any day of the week.

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originally posted: 07/05/00 14:32:23
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User Comments

4/06/12 SEAN DUTRA ok at first but slumps 2 stars
1/14/09 Shaun Wallner This movie was stupid! 2 stars
12/15/07 Pamela White very cute when bruce meets himself 4 stars
8/17/05 ES Something about the kid = makes me just want to smack him. 1 stars
7/04/04 thegoat cute and fun. relax and enjoy this flick. I laughed and laughed. 4 stars
6/09/04 Nobody Poorly done disney feel-good 2 stars
1/13/03 Jack Sommersby Competent though unremarkable Disney fare. Pleasant performances. 3 stars
2/20/02 Xaver Bruce, Bruce, Bruce...what made you do it? 2 stars
11/01/01 Andrew Carden Lilly Tomlin Kicks Ass....but She's Only In It For 15 Damn Minutes!!! 2 stars
8/07/01 Marks Brothers To label this total crap insults the movies that are genuinely total crap; unbearable flick 1 stars
7/24/01 SJKelley The young kid steals this movie. MsAsh's review is again ridiculous. 4 stars
5/01/01 DREDD nice movie that everyone should see 4 stars
4/09/01 Nidal the movie was a success! Bruce willis was born for his part!!! 5 stars
3/05/01 voyant Sentimental comedies rarely work this well. 4 stars
2/04/01 Turtle It starts off kind of slow, but after the first 5 minutes, it's great! One of my favorites! 5 stars
1/29/01 Stuntman Bruce was great, the rest was crap-on-a-stick 2 stars
10/23/00 PoOh#7 Bit slow on at the start but preety good other wise 5 stars
7/31/00 Rusty One of the summer's best. Touching and funny and never annoying. Willis for Best Actor! 5 stars
7/24/00 Tyler Peterson IT SUCKED 1 stars
7/22/00 Boy In The Designer Bubble A night of my life gone, watching this flick. I've grown up to be a loser! 1 stars
7/17/00 Michael Grimm a little slow to develop but the ending was worth it 4 stars
7/14/00 Elizabeth ramos Just one of his best movies 4 stars
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  07-Jul-2000 (PG)


  26-Sep-2000 (PG)

Directed by
  Jon Turteltaub

Written by
  Audrey Wells

  Bruce Willis
  Spencer Breslin
  Emily Mortimer
  Lily Tomlin
  Chi McBride

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