Acclaimed director Jon Turteltaub returns with his fifth successful film for the Walt Disney company. The focal point of the movie is that if you got a chance to meet an older you, would you be happy with what you turned out to be?
In Disney's "The Kid", Russ Duritz (Bruce Willis) is a high-powered image consultant who magically meets Rusty (Spencer Breslin), Russ himself as an eight year old kid. This turns Russ' world upside down...especially since little Rusty is extremely unhappy with the way he has turned out. Russ' material accomplishments mean absolutely nothing to him and he just cannot believe that when he gets older he actually forgets his dreams about becoming a pilot and turns out to be a "chickless, dogless loser".
For Russ, Rusty dregs up all sorts of memories, which he'd rather forget. Rusty is a cute but overweight and geeky child, who cries at the slightest opportunity and ends up being bullied - a painful remembrance that he has worked hard to overcome.
The movie, I feel, attempts to talk to the kid in all of us and the subject has been directed with a lot of warmth and sensitivity. Turteltaub seems to excel in churning out emotionally charged material, earlier examples include "Phenomenon" and "While You were Sleeping". The script written by Audrey Wells (of "The Truth about Cats and Dogs" fame) is interesting though it appears a trifle inexplicable at times - we never really find out where Rusty appeared from! However, laced with a great sense of humour, it has all those nuances that are required to flesh out a good story into a better script.
The pacing does not disappoint, though it tends to flag a little towards the end. The acting, as expected, is of sterling quality. Both Bruce Willis and Lily Tomlin are ideal for their roles - Willis, as a money making machine with relatively no scruples and a sharp tongue to boot, and Tomlin, as a no-nonsense wise-cracking assistant. Even Breslin, who is making his cinematic debut, is believable.
Keeping to the high standards of Disney, "The Kid" is one of those enjoyable happy-ending tales. A charming movie, it is an ideal family entertainer.This article was first published on 20 Sep 2000.