Disney's The Kid (2000)

DISNEY'S THE KID, despite having a title that practically *screams* 
"stay away," is actually a cannily constructed family film with the 
can't miss premise of Bruce Willis as a (nearly) 40 year-old, family 
love-less, single jerk who meets his (nearly) 8 year-old and equally 
alienated younger version (Spencer Breslin).  Amusement ensues; Wil-
lis first flipping out, then bickering with himself for a while, and 
then finally transforming into the long-awaited "nice guy."  Plenty 
of laughter, too, thanks to Willis' perfectly pitched performance--
he's a smirking smart-ass who never behaves out-and-out cruel.  (I 
believe the term is "loveable lout.")  His foil, the title charac-
ter-playing Breslin, is a mush-mouthed gem.  The newcomer *easily* 
holds his own, rolling his eyes, pitching little fits, and deliver-
ing all those well-scripted retorts.  (Gotta credit screenwriter Au-
drey Wells, also, for keeping the story so firmly focused on the two 
characters.  No unnecessary details, either, such as any reaction by 
the kid as someone having traveled thirty years forward in time.)
Adding to the overall value is the appealing Emily Mortimer (SCREAM 
3, NOTTING HILL) as a spunky, British-accented, two-young-for-him-
but-hey-what-the-Hell love interest.  Also in the mix is Lily Tomlin 
as Willis' wry, dry-witted administrative assistant.  (He plays a 
high-powered image consultant-- a profession *perfect* for multiple 
"tell it like it is" put-downs.)  The icing on this exceptionally e-
ffective cake is a blazingly cheery, nearly non-stop, and sometimes 
Carl Stalling-sounding (!) score that spells out *exactly* what to 
feel and when to feel it.  (Much of which is a wacky sort of happi-
ness.  Beware the three-hankie ending, however.)  Nope, subtle it 
ain't-- see: pratfalls, double takes, swelling strings-- but it's 
got an ass-load of mass appeal.  And a pair of very watchable leads.
Go take the whole family.  (Rated "PG"/102 min.)

Grade: B

Copyright 2000 by Michael J. Legeros
Movie Hell is a trademark of Michael J. Legeros

Originally posted to triangle.movies as MOVIE HELL: Just Kidding

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Copyright 2001 by Michael J. Legeros -Movie Hell™ is a trademark of Michael J. Legeros