A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
Russ Duritz (Bruce Willis) is an "image consultant" who spends his time diverting public relations disasters, making everyone around him miserable and being miserable himself. Duritz hides from his hurt and loneliness by working all the time, being thoughtless and insensitive to everyone he meets, and forgetting his feelings and that he ever had them. But he can't escape his feelings. Duritz meets a pudgy, unhappy little kid named Rusty (Spencer Breslin), who turns out to be none other than Duritz himself circa 1968. At first, Duritz is embarrassed by his younger self. He says, "I look at him and all I see is awful memories -- memories I've been spending most of my life trying to forget." He decides that Rusty can't go back until he helps him. But he learns that Rusty is there to help him, too. Duritz has spent his entire professional life making over other people, his first subject having been himself. But he needs to remember who he really is inside that image. Why does he have a problem with dry eyes? Why does he get so angry when people cry? What is it about his past that "doesn't want to stay in the past?"
Is it any good?
Bruce Willis has great talent as an actor and enough charm to keep him on the A-list despite a few clunkers, but he is simply the best there is when he plays opposite a child actor. There's a reason for the legendary advice to stay away from kids and animals on stage, because they draw all the attention away from even the most accomplished adult performer. Some actors who appear with kids can't resist showing off or trying to out-adorable them. But Willis treats his kid costars as though they are the only two people in the world. He is not afraid to let the child actors get the attention. The result is two terrific performances at the heart of a surprisingly funny and endearing movie, which also is very funny and genuinely insightful.
THE KID is a Disney movie, and it has an old-fashioned Disney ending. Only the hardest hearts will refuse to be warmed.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the importance of understanding your past. Kids who see the movie will want to know whether their parents are neglecting their childhood dreams, and they may want to talk about what they can do now to stay in touch with what's important to them and to feel happy with themselves when they grow up. They should discuss what makes people mean. As this movie shows, it's often because people are insecure and in pain. Some kids who have experienced or observed bullies at school may want to talk about why kids behave that way and how to respond to them. Older kids may want to talk about the difference between "spin" and accountability and the way image consultants change the way people feel about celebrities.
- In theaters: July 7, 2000
- On DVD or streaming: January 23, 2001
- Cast: Bruce Willis, Emily Mortimer, Spencer Breslin
- Director: Jon Turteltaub
- Studio: Walt Disney Pictures
- Genre: Comedy
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy
- Run time: 104 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG
- MPAA explanation: boxing action and mild thematic elements
- Last updated: March 14, 2020
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