A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that with so much air time given to worshipping the gadgets and wonders of being super rich, the rest of the movie gets lost under the sheer weight of it all. Richie is a kid who doesn't have any normal friends (his school friends are freakishly precocious in cultivating their inner Donald Trumps). So his butler gets the "townie" kids to come over, and Richie blows them away by sharing his toys (a kid catapult, a roller coaster, an in-home McDonald's).
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
Richie Rich is born into unimaginable wealth, and is burdened with the issues that go with this conceit: he has limited time with his parents (even though they dote on him, they are so busy), he has to learn how to behave in situations that are not kid-like (running his father's company when he is missing, for example), and he has no real friends. In fact, his own friends are either too self-consumed or too busy learning to rule the world that they can't even find time to hang out on the weekend. Enter the kids from town, who are bribed by Richie's butler to come over for a major league play date, and are so charmed by Richie's laid back attitude about sharing all the cool stuff he has that they reject the bribe money at the end of the day. Meanwhile, a bad seed tries to off the Rich family so that he can take over their billion-dollar estate upon their demise. Can Richie save the day?
Is it any good?
Though it has charming moments, this movie adaptation of the 1960s comic is too weighed down in product placement to be a winner. Though the longing for friends and normalcy that Macaulay Culkin portrays does hit a truthful note, his performance is pretty wooden. Not until he starts running his dad's business does the usual mischievous twinkle in his eye come through. Perhaps the gimmicks and gadgets feel a little re-heated. Perhaps all of the product placement is distracting. But the moments of the movie that are the most compelling occur when Richie is with his adoring father (played by Edward Herrmann). There's something to be said about quality family time after all.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about what the other kids in the movie have that Richie doesn't. Do you have friends who have more stuff than you do? Do you have friends who have fewer things than you do? Does it make a difference?
Richie Rich has a McDonald's in his home, and he is constantly slurping milkshakes. Does it make you hungry for a milkshake? Can a movie's product placement influence your likes and dislikes?
- In theaters: December 21, 1994
- On DVD or streaming: February 15, 2005
- Cast: Edward Herrmann, John Laroquette, Macaulay Culkin
- Director: Donald Petrie
- Studio: Warner Bros.
- Genre: Comedy
- Topics: Adventures, Friendship
- Run time: 95 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG
- MPAA explanation: For mild violence and language
- Last updated: March 14, 2020
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