Reviewed by: K Parisea
|Featuring:||Emily Mortimer, Bruce Willis, Spencer Breslin, Jean Smart, Jeri Ryan|
|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).