Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The Kid (2000) [PG] ***

Russ Duritz (Bruce Willis) is a successful image consultant living in L.A. He's approaching forty, but he doesn't realize that although he's accumulated wealth, power and status, he really has nothing meaningful in his life. His assistant Amy (Emily Mortimer) and his secretary Janet (Lily Tomlin) see him for the loser he really is; they barely tolerate him and secretly hope that someday he will get a clue.

Then into Russ' life comes a seven-year-old boy named Rusty (Spencer Breslin). Russ tries unsuccessfully to get rid of Rusty until he discovers they have the same mannerisms, the same figures of speech, the same birthmark and scar and the same memories. Disbelieving at first, the two finally accept the fact that they are different versions of the same person, 32 years apart in age. Russ becomes convinced that they've come together so he can help young Rusty cope with elementary school and his father. But it's only when Deirdre Lafever (Jean Smart), Russ' TV newscaster friend, raises the possibility that it might be the other way around - that Rusty might be there to help grownup Russ - that he begins to understand.

The film starts out as a comedy, occasionally bordering on slapstick, but about halfway through it elevates into a thoughtful, compelling romantic drama. This is a film that every parent should see, especially if they are raising young children. There are two important lessons in The Kid. The first lesson is that children are very fragile, very impressionable; when we say something to a child that is thoughtless, mean, heartless or cruel we could be unintentionally scarring them for life. And the second lesson is that just because someone calls us a name, or describes us in a way that is mean or cruel it doesn't mean that it's true. It doesn't mean that's who we are. Each of us decides who we are and who we'll become when we grow up.

The screenplay is innovative, the performances are pitch-perfect, production values are excellent and the soundtrack and cinematography are brilliant. The storyline relies on the concept that time, while linear, runs both forward and backward, that multiple versions of us exist, and that the future can potentially affect the past. So, if you enjoy films like Big, Flight of the Navigator, The Lake House, Peggy Sue Got Married, Pleasantville, or Somewhere in Time, you'll probably really enjoy The Kid.

Labels: comedy, family, fantasy, flying, space-time
Internet Movie Database
Metacritic 45/100
RottenTomatoes Averages (critics=52, viewers=60)

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