The Kid

***

Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray

Let's clear one thing up for a start. This has nothing to do with Charlie Chaplin.

The concept takes a bit of getting used to. When the philandering cellist in Kolya is landed with his runaway Russian wife's boy and Adam Sandler in Big Daddy adopts a five-year-old bed wetter to impress his girlfriend, you understand and sympathise.

The kid in The Kid is different. He is Bruce Willis, aged eight, who meets his 40-year-old self, Russ Duritz, a successful image consultant - spin doctor for people in the public eye - who has no time for anyone, even Amy (Emily Mortimer), a professional photographer, who wants to be his girlfriend but isn't because his work comes first.

Rusty (Spencer Breslin), the kid, is not impressed by who he has become, "a chickless, dogless jerk with a twitch", and Russ isn't crazy about being reminded of what he used to be, "a pathetic dweeb."

This isn't exactly magic realism. It is magic, certainly, but quite complex, as Rusty is accepted by Amy and everyone else as Russ's nephew, and yet Russ can return to his old school in a Back To The Future kind of way, in order to get even with the bullies who made his life miserable.

As one of those only-in-Hollywood fantasy comedy romances that used to star Shelley Long and were awful, The Kid has a considerable amount of charm.

When he's not being tough and assertive (Die Hard, Armageddon), Willis displays admirable qualities. His comic timing is self-deprecating and he is generous with his co-stars. Russ is not a nice man, until Rusty points out his failure to deliver on those youthful dreams of being a pilot, rather than following the herd and becoming a locked-in workaholic.

Mortimer has one of those roles that is an appendage to the man in the movie. She has such character and individuality, it never seems to feel like that. As the latest English actress in Tinseltown, she has the personality and talent to put the frights up Gwyneth Paltrow.

Reviewed on: 19 Jan 2001
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A workaholic image consultant meets his eight-year-old self.
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Director: Jon Turteltaub

Writer: Audrey Wells

Starring: Bruce Willis, Spencer Breslin, Emily Mortimer, Lily Tomlin, Jean Smart

Year: 2000

Runtime: 104 minutes

BBFC: 15 - Age Restricted

Country: US

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