5-Word 365 #342 – Disney’s The Kid

The end of the year is fast approaching, and after today I only have to watch three more kids’ movies.

Disney’s The Kidthe-kid-poster

Looper, with no blunderbusses. (Blunderbi?)

A few days before his fortieth birthday, successful LA image consultant Russ Duritz finds a strangely familiar child in his bachelor pad of a home. This youngster turns out to be Russ Duritz himself, aged eight. Initially disbelieving, older Russ decides that Rusty (the young version) is there so that Russ can save him from being a loser, only to find out that maybe it’s the other way round.

What is it with Bruce Willis and time travel movies? I can’t think of any other actor who has done as many unrelated flicks that all involve Bruno confronting his younger self. This is the family-friendly version (as the title suggests) and while there may be no big guns or tooth ripping, it’s still as eminently enjoyable as just about everything else he has done (except North. That was just garbage). Bruce may be the star, but the flick belongs to young Spencer Breslin as Rusty, whose wide-eyed innocence turns out to be infectious to just about everybody.

Bruce, when I said get a grip on yourself, this isn't exactly what I meant.

Bruce, when I said get a grip on yourself, this isn’t exactly what I meant.

Disney’s The Kid is a time travel flick but it is by no means science fiction. There is no explanation given for what has happened; it might as well be the Flying Spaghetti Monster who pulled Rusty into the future with His Noodley Appendage. For a movie like this, that approach works just fine. Trying to shoe-horn in a MacGuffin to justify everything would have only clogged things up. This way, the story of Russ getting in touch with himself gets to stand on its own two feet.

There are three Aaron Sorkin veterans among the supporting cast. Lily Tomlin as Russ’ assistant is basically playing the same character she would take along to The West Wing a year or so later. Emily Mortimer – currently riding Jeff Daniels’ back in The Newsroom – is Amy, the colleague Russ discovers he is in love with only after 8-year-old Rusty proposes to her. Honestly I can’t blame him. She’s a fun character, just as full of snark as Russ himself, but with a warmth that makes her believable. I said there were three vets, didn’t I? There’s a prize for whoever can spot the third*.

Sigh.

Sigh.

The screenplay by Audrey Wells examines the idea of second chances with an enviable lightness of touch, using the Russes’ sarcastic interactions to generally avoid the cloying sentimentality that a lot of Disney’s live-action movies fall into. John Turteltaub’s direction plays up the wish-fulfillment aspect well, but still manages to leave the ending somewhat ambiguous. How much of what happened happened? Was it all real or was Russ just having a long overdue nervous breakdown? You can decide for yourself.

The focus on older Russ means that Disney’s The Kid might be a bit too mature for the kids to watch on their own, but it’s certainly strong enough for a family movie night.

*Subject to availability.

8 comments

  1. mistylayne · December 8, 2012

    Aw, sounds sweet. 🙂 This may have been explained in the past or I might have even asked and if I did I apologize, my memory is lousy – but do you have a kid you watch the kids’ movies with or was the kids’ movies thing just something you decided to do this year? Just curious – I have a fondness for family friendly movies because they tend to be all cute and uplifting.

    • Ryan McNeely · December 8, 2012

      It started, as most other things in my life do, by accident. The first Friday of the year was my niece’s first birthday so I did a kids movie in her honour, then my OCD kicked in and it became a regular occurence. I really wish I hadn’t bothered though; most of them have been shite!

      • mistylayne · December 9, 2012

        Lol, OCD is such a pain isn’t it? 😉

  2. Drew · December 10, 2012

    Speaking of second chances, I just watched 13 going on 30 again cos we saw it on cable. That isn’t that bad a film, despite Mark Ruffalo playing himself yet again.

    • Ryan McNeely · December 10, 2012

      That’s one of my favourite movies. Every time I watch it I fall completely in love with Jennifer Garner.

      • Drew · December 11, 2012

        My one gripe was the line where she goes: “It’s cos I have these incredible boobs to fill (this dress) with!” Felt a bit weird for Jennifer Garner hahaaha!

      • Ryan McNeely · December 11, 2012

        Yeah, maybe. She does have incredible boobs though…

      • Drew · December 13, 2012

        I dunno… I just remember thinking that it didn’t look like it in that dress. It just seemed like more of a Kat Dennings or Sofia Vergara line hahaha!

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