The Kid (2000) / Comedy-Fantasy
MPAA Rated: PG for boxing action and mild thematic elements
Running Time: 104 min.
Cast: Bruce Willis, Spencer Breslin, Emily Mortimer, Lily Tomlin
Director: Jon Turteltaub
Screenplay: Audrey Wells
Review published July 12, 2000
Here's the surprise of all surprises for the year 2000. What you read in the following few paragraphs does not have any sarcasm, I haven't taken a nasty fall on my head, and Disney has not paid me off for this review (though I will gladly accept any donations they may charitably send my way). I really enjoyed Disney's The Kid.
From the get-go, this film had everything going against it in my book. First, it's marketed as a movie for kids. Second, the lamest of the megastar actors, Bruce Willis (The Story of Us, The Sixth Sense) stars in it. Third, a really cheesy plot about a grumpy middle-aged guy who meets himself when he was eight (Breslin, Raising Helen) to find out about the childhood he's been supressing smacks of redundancy with many other films out recently, but also is just dumb in and of itself. And lastly, almost all Disney movies suffer from the Annoying Kid syndrome, where the child actor is far too smart and far too adorable to be believable and consequently I hate him instantly.
So why how could I like this film so much? First, the movie may be marketed for kids but the script is smartly written and themes so broad-ranging, that adults will not only enjoy the film but may even like it better than most children. Second, Bruce Willis probably gives his best performance as a starring actor in a film made for the big screen. Third, the story offers quite a number of surprises that makes this tired plot seem fresh and different from most of those that have come before. And lastly, Spencer Breslin as the Kid is not only not annoying in the slightest, he may actually give the most authentic performance as a kid in a Disney movie ever.
All praises go to Turteltaub as director (Phenomenon), a well-cast set of actors, and Disney for not injecting the film with any cutesy characters for marketing purposes. It's great to watch with your kids, but it's great to watch even if you don't have any. Disney's The Kid is one movie that proves you should never judge a film by it's trailer.
©2000 Vince Leo