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Movie Review

Disney’s The Kid

MPAA Rating: PG for mild language

Reviewed by: K Parisea

Better than Average
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Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
All Ages
Drama, Comedy
1 hr. 41 min.
Year of Release:
USA Release:
July 7, 2000 (wide)
Scene from Disneys the Kid. Copyrighted.
Featuring: Emily Mortimer, Bruce Willis, Spencer Breslin, Jean Smart, Jeri Ryan
Director: Jon Turteltaub
Producer: Christina Steinberg, Hunt Lowry, Jon Turteltaub
Distributor: Walt Disney Pictures

Bruce Willis plays Russ, a shallow image consultant who is more concerned with the package than with the product. In this case, the products he packages are people. Unfortunately, putting a pretty face on some ugly personality blemishes does not do much for his own character. He seems all hi-tech and low-touch when it comes to relationships. His secretary has to tell him to stop talking on his cell phone once they are face to face; he has his videographer videotape positive image promos, yet he refuses to promote her to the position his heart desires (girlfriend), and he orders his secretary (Lily Tomlin) to rescue him from a conversation with his father by inventing an important meeting to interrupt his father’s 1 minute visit. Russ’ life comes under close self scrutiny when he catches a “kid” in his house. The kid (unexplainably) is him some thirty years earlier. For an unknown reason, the two are stuck with each other. The kid, Rusty, asks him if “we” have a girlfriend, or if “we” have a dog named Chester. It seems the kid had some expectations as to how his life would be as an adult and not one of those expectations was a reality, so in the kid’s view, Russ is a 40 year old, dogless, girlfriendless, loser who doesn’t fly planes!

As these two work out their purpose and discover a way to get the kid back in his own time frame, Russ “reflects” on what a loser he HAD been as a kid and tries to get his videographer to see Rusty that way. The whole time, she is charmed by the genuine potential of Rusty… much to Russ’ chagrine. He wants her to see him as he wants to think of himself, yet all she sees is his potential as a genuine person.

I was surprised to leave the theater in a feel good mood after attending the showing of this Disney release. For the last few years, it has seemed as if Disney Inc has harped on some familiar themes that are offensive to Christians (i.e. smart kid vs stupid parents, incantations and other mystical tools or powers, the “power within” to the point of each of us being our own god—Satan’s oldest deceit). The only magic in this film is the only kind I ever knew as a child… the unexplainable existence of unusual events… truly imagination.

There is one scene between Rusty and his father that APPEARS emotionally abusive, and certainly the current existence of RUSS, SELF MADE IMAGE CONSULTANT, was created due in part to that moment in time, but is handled nicely by a grown up Russ loving, and protecting the feelings of, the younger Rusty (you could say getting in touch with his OUTER child). Life does have some nasty moments, but that is merely the action… how we handle them with our REaction determines our course.

This film is an imaginative version of Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. with Russ being the Childhood Present, Rusty being the Childhood Past, and, well… you have to see the film to finish the sentence for yourself!

The underlying moral of the story (yes, it is a modern Disney movie with a moral), is that one needs to be true to the being one was created to be and not let looks or physical impediments get in the way (“NO weapon formed against me shall prosper” Isaiah 54:17). My nine year old nephew and I enjoyed this film.

The language used was an innocent representation of today’s vernacular (sad to say, if there was any foul language, I did not catch it). From a Biblical perspective, I found it lacking the final push to make the moral points effective. It seems our society is placated by seeking to do “good,” or be “happy,” without actively seeking God (and thus striving for soul-satisfying Godliness).

Viewer Comments
I really enjoyed this movie when I went with my friends a couple of weeks ago (this was the second time for one of them). It is very cute, funny and plays on the emotions. I would recommend this movie for anyone. Take your kids to see this one! It is very clean and I really want to buy it when it comes out on video. My Ratings: [4½/4½]
—Courtney Pitts, age 22
The best movie I’ve seen in years! I personally dislike Bruce Willis, but after this movie, I have gained a new respect for him. Hopefully, he will change his ways in his movies. This was very uplifting, and I have seen it twice, and plan to purchase or record it in the future. There are many things you will pick up on seeing it the second time. I would recommend taking any age person to this movie. My Ratings: [5/4½]
—Terry C. Killinger, age 47
All around a great movie… Only one swear word (God’s name), many funny parts, many times Russ (Bruce Willis) would get angry with the kid, but he always made it up to him… It made me realize that what happens to you when you are young, affects you as an adult. [4½/4½] —Justin, age 14
This movie was funny and had a good message. My Ratings: [4/4]
—Jane Harrold, age 38
…a well-written, well-acted, re-spinning of Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. It is geniunely funny and occassionally touching… The movie reflects strong family values, as long as you don’t include going to church or believing in God as one of those values. But, then again, I think THE SIMPSONS are pretty much the only folks in contemporary folklore that even acknowledge that anybody still prays or goes to church in the 21st century. All in all, THE KID does a very clever job of telling a modern story of personal redemption. My Ratings: [4/4]
—Artie Megibben, age 47
This was a touching film with a good message that will give families much to talk about. My Ratings: [4/3]
—Dustin Foree, age 12
Possibly the best movie I’ve ever scene. It had no cussing, or anything remotely close. The worst word I remember is jerk! It had a warm feeling to it when he finally remembers what he was like as a kid. It was not like some strange power brought the kid there, either. The kid was only there to change his future and make his older self a much happier person. This is the hardest I’ve laughed in a long time. My Ratings: [4½/4½]
—Blake W., age 13
This is a sweet, heartwarming film that is good for all ages. It made me laugh, and it made me cry. A good story about how success as viewed by the world, will still leave you empty inside. Bruce Willis did a great job. In the end, the “kid” helps him realize what is missing from his life. Not a spiritual movie, but not offensive in any way. My Ratings: [4/5]
—Susan Kriaski, age 48
After a slow start, with an initially confusing story line, the plot picks up into a fairly decent time-travel drama, in which a character appears as a child and concurrently as an adult. The strength of the film lies in the rapport that Bruce Willis, who plays the adult Russ, establishes with the child who plays younger Russ. Probably more fun for kids than for adults. The soundtrack is very effective and conveys the appropriate emotions. No bad language per se. My Ratings: [3/3½]
Halyna Barannik, age 54
I saw this movie and I thought it would be very boring, but I was very wrong. The movie was just the opppsite. This movie is a sweet, loving, and a funny movie. This is a must see movie, honest! My Ratings: [3½/4]
—LaToya Warriner, age 13
THIS MOVIE IS GREAT FOR ALL AGES! While the movie-making quality isn’t the best I’ve seen (Russell-Bruce Willis, is 40 and talks about a toy airplane he got “30 years ago” and Rusty, the kid, who is actually Russell, as a child, already has the plane at 8,) the storyline is awesome. It is a heart-warming story with no sex scenes, and very little cursing if any at all. This movie would be great to take any aged children and would be enjoyable for adults as well!
—Bonnie, age 13
This was one of the best movies I’ve ever seen! The acting was great! It was a great movie and it didn’t have to have any swearing or sex to make it one. Although I thought that it might be a little bit weird because the kid came from the past it proved me wrong! The story line wasn’t weird and they didn’t make it sound like it was some sort of mystical power that sent the kid there. This is by far the best Disney movie that I have ever seen!
—Dee, age 13
I saw this movie with my wife and two children, ages 12 and 15. It was sweet and uplifting, with nothing at all offensive. Even a scene regarding childhood trauma over the death of a parent was handled with a surprisingly light touch, and very good taste. The basic moral message of turning away from the things of the world is plainly one that children should learn. There are, however, two problems with the film that should be noted. First, the supernatural effect that forms the basis of the film are caused by humans and technology. (If the film left the cause vague, there would be more room for Christian parents to talk to their children about God’s miracles.) Second, when we turn from the things of the world, the question, always, is what we are turning toward. The film is a little bit uneasy with this question. The answer seems to be “happiness,” with little more elaboration. These moral quibbles are important, but, overall, this is a very fine film. My Ratings: [3½/4]
—Stephen, age 45
Movie Critics
…sweet, upbeat and benign, yet curiously unsatisfying…
—Bob Smithouser, Focus on the Family
…various colorful phrases that are generally mild for what’s commonly found in a PG film…
…Only the hardest hearts will refuse to be warmed. …very funny and genuinely insightful…
—Nell Minow, Movie Mom