Thursday, June 12, 2014

The Kid (2000)

A feel good movie that doesn't really feel good!

Most people find it easier to run from their true selves than to turn inside to seek the certainty of their life. Well imagine that your inner child literally shows up on your doorstep in the form of yourself at the age of ten and that's Disney's The Kid

Considering the Disney association, this Saturn award nominated fantasy comedy directed by National Treasure Director Jon Turteltaub has a dramatic theme that is the clear driving force to this piece. And that is a simple message: "You must conquer you demons or they will chase you for the rest of your life."

Russell Duritz (Bruce Willis) is a forty year old, unmarried, successful image consultant for high priced entertainers and politicians. He is only out for himself and treats anyone he comes in contact with like dirt. He has every material thing he has ever wanted and some power to wield. Still, there is one important thing that has eluded him all his life. That is a healthy inner relationship with himself that could give him the last and most important piece of the puzzle. And so one day, the Kid magically appears.

At their first meeting Russell (Willis) feels like the kid (a splendid Spencer Breslinrepresents some really bad hallucinations that some powerful psychiatric drugs could cure. There is only one problem. The kid is not a hallucination but a person that everyone around him see too. This is where the Disney magic comes in. All twenty minutes of it! Kids seem to find it funny when a kid cries for attention or breaks stuff that in turn makes a grown-up look stupid. 

Russell (Willis) tries at first to conceal the identity of the Kid by ignoring him, but when that doesn't work he starts to introduce him as his nephew. His business assistant Amy (Emily Mortimer) is one of the only normal, sweet and beautiful people in his life but he cant seem to realize her real worth. When she is introduced to the Kid, she instantly falls in love with the innocence that the Kid possesses. This naivety makes Russell try to figure out on his own why the Kid has returned and why he won t leave. In the process he is pointed to one traumatic event that he never dealt with when he was younger. 

This wants to be a feel good movie and to a great extent it actually is. However, you still get a nagging feeling that it could have been a way better. Take for instance the acting of Bruce Willis. Its evident, Willis had lost that comedic flare of his eighties on-screen persona much before and he seems to struggle here and Lily Tomlin, who has some great deliveries, is sadly underutilized.

A kids movie this is not and perhaps the reason why this movie received mixed reviews on release. Some studio freak probably changed this movie to fit that category, because that's what the all mighty dollar said.  Considering this film tackles a very important subject for any adult to ponder, this could have been a great dramedy if the script written by Audrey Wells was handled more correctly. Nonetheless, the loose ends are tied up nicely at the conclusion and, if you can get through the first hour, the next one might even impress you. If a ten year old showed up at my door tomorrow, I definitely tell him to stay away from this Disney movie. Long live Pokemon.


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