Hello, friends in time, and welcome to a regular feature on Cinema 52 where I put my weekly viewing of Back to the Future on hold and watch another movie featuring time travel for comparison. It may not keep me sane, but it will probably always involve one guy shouting, “This doesn’t make any sense!” And that’s good enough for me.
DISNEY’S THE KID (2000)
Bruce Willis was bit by the time travel bug on the set of Twelve Monkeys and never looked back. In Disney’s The Kid, he plays Russ Duritz, a dickhead who gets paid to tell other dickheads how to look less dickheaded in the public eye. One day, something Disney magic whatever leaves a chubby kid named Rusty in his house (Spencer Breslin), and it turns out that this tiny excuse for John McClane Jr. is actually an 8-year-old version of himself. How can he get rid of this annoyance without rolling him up in a carpet and burning it? And is it worth watching all the way to the end to find out?
Ugh. Magic time travel. Get the fuck out of my house.
Okay, Groundhog Day, you can stay.
There isn’t a single goddamn rule in this movie. This is all just for fun. No, not even fun. It’s here to make your heart choke on pure cane sugar. Eat up, you cold, blood-pumping son of a bitch. The magic mouse is here to make you feel.
Aww, he made a mess. Pwecious.
Okay, so the story… Russ pisses off Amy (Emily Mortimer), the obligatory love interest who puts up with his bastardly shit, then finds Baby Him just hangin’ around, being annoying. Why doesn’t Russ remember traveling to the future when he was a kid? Shhhh, there’s a movie on. This is no time to think.
So Russ needs to figure out how to get rid of Rusty before we, the audience, can find out where Spencer Breslin lives today and shit in his car. Seriously, I think this kid was genetically engineered by the CIA for special One Day You Might Have to Kill a Kid training sessions. Since Russ can’t murder Shorter Him (or can he?), he figures something in his past must need fixing, because Quantum Leap was a thing.
Okay, fuck, magic diner.
Ha, open 24 hours, CUTE.
Alright, there’s a diner that just randomly appears sometimes. It serves no purpose. None. It’s not like it makes them travel between time periods or it’s full of Bruce Willises at different ages or anything interesting whatsoever. It’s about as compelling as the red bi-plane they keep seeing everywhere. So… not. At all.
Why all the random extra shit? Does it add mystery? Is it symbolic? Why not just tell a simple, streamlined fantasy story and be done with it? Have I been typing about this movie this whole time? I didn’t even get to the touching scene where an 8-year-old proposes to Emily Mortimer and she thinks it over.
“I hate Adult You, but Little You is nice… oh, hell, let’s see the goods, kid.”
Okay, we have to move on… oh, and Russ blatantly tells everyone that Rusty is him and nobody finds this shocking–
I haven’t seen any Moonlighting recently, but I guess Bruce Willis was funny before he kicked all of the asses?
Hey, I made that face during this movie!
He’s alright here, but there’s a hollowness to his performance that suggests he’s really not comfortable with this shitty script. He tries, but just enough. I also suspect that he hated working with Child Unit #494. His fakest moments are when he and Pudgy Him are “victoriously” cheering.
Spencer Breslin is a science experiment and was disposed of shortly after filming.
THE SPECIAL EFFECTS:
There are none.
Oh, wait, there’s like a time lapse thing with a plane. Yeah.
- Looper is another movie in which Bruce Willis meets his younger self. That movie uses time travel to convey a message of anti-violence. Disney’s The Kid uses time travel to teach an 8-year-old that punching other kids in the fucking head will solve all of your problems.
- Back to the Future, in fairness, also hinges on a climactic head-punch, but George McFly comes to that solution on his own in a moment of stress. Again, Bruce Willis, an adult and supposed voice of reason, tells an 8-year-old to go punch another kid in the fucking head.
- Yes, the title of this film is Disney’s The Kid. I often read it as Disney is the Kid. It’s like that on the box, it’s like that on the Leonard Maltin app, it’s like that in Roger Ebert’s review of it, it’s like that on its Wikipedia page. The only place that calls it The Kid is IMDb, but I remember them including “Disney” when I was younger.
THE “NONE OF THIS MAKES ANY SENSE!” MOMENT:
Nobody questions time travel. They just makes a surprised face, then they’re cool with it.
What really pisses me off is that I was raised in a house that thought this movie was kind of good. What the fuck? It’s got a few workable ideas, then doesn’t touch them. No, it actively runs away from them. If I was stranded on a desert island with a portable DVD player and this movie, I wouldn’t even use it to signal a plane… because the pilot might kill himself. I was about to call it a misguided but ultimately harmless movie, but then I remembered that an adult teaches an 8-year-old to punch kids in the face. Black Knight‘s crime was predictability; Disney’s the Kid is aggravatingly unintelligent.
Just so this whole experience wasn’t a total loss, my DVD player kept getting stuck on one frame every time I scanned through the scenes. This is that frame.
Do with it what you will.
WILLIS WEEK CONTINUES WITH:
Want more time travel? Head on over to the Time Out archive.