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Parents' Guide to

Problem Child

By Renee Longstreet, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 12+

Antics of a diabolical child are neither valuable nor funny.

Movie PG 1990 81 minutes
Problem Child Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 10+

Based on 9 parent reviews

age 14+

Upsetting, malicious

I write this more as a kid than a parent, because I still remember watching this movie as a child. It made my heart sick that anyone found it funny The child's cruelty seemed disproportionately directed towards females. He did things to upset and hurt girls his age, who responded with sobbing and anger. Again, never understood how this was supposed to be a comedy. He harms and almost kills animals. As an adult the movie bothers me further, as a lot of his behaviors accurately depict a severe personality disorder. The child himself is a victim of the system, bounced back and forth between foster homes, never finding a home that can adequately address his severe mental health issues. Highlights of comedy include such gold as someone falling into garbage. Yeah. It's got all the knee-slapping humor of Dexter, minus the good writing, minus the good acting, minus the life lessons.
1 person found this helpful.
age 9+

More Trouble!

The "Problem Child" movies have made us laugh our way into the 90s with a mischievous boy playing pranks and whatnot! Both movies are actually good; I liked the very first "Problem Child" the best, and the second movie may lack all the fun and funny elements from the first part, but it's still very fun! If you've never seen the "Problem Child" movies yet, then I suggest you find a way to view them! Look for it on TV, go to the video store, anything! Anything that will keep these movies from going into oblivion! (Yeah, it seems like it nowadays. :-( ) "Problem Child" - always fun, always funny, always great! :-)

This title has:

Great role models

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (9 ):
Kids say (15 ):

PROBLEM CHILD is a live-action cartoon with pratfalls, slapstick action, one-dimensional characters, and very little heart. Director Dennis Dugan, hoping perhaps to emulate Wile E. Coyote vs. the Road Runner or Tom and Jerry, has come up with "devil-child against the world," with the same pacing and exaggerated violence of the animated shorts. And like those shorts, there's no real resolution, no change in behavior: Nice guys remain nice guys, buffoons are always buffoons, and the little guy's emotional arc barely moves from A to B.

The performances are uniformly loud and over-the-top, with some highly offensive comic portrayals of nuns and priests and a whiny, abrasive narration throughout from Junior himself. Ritter's usual nice-guy appeal can't save anyone, and Richards, Jack Warden, and Amy Yasbeck (who plays Junior's adoptive mother) are more obnoxious than comic. All of this might be somewhat excusable if the movie was funny or clever. But unless watching people crash and burn is your cup of tea, it's simply not.

Movie Details

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