Monday, July 10, 2000
Houston, Texas
Volume 65, Issue 157 

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I don't wanna grow up ...

Disney's The Kid a humorous film with an important message 

Disney's The Kid

Disney Films
Starring: Bruce Willis, Spencer Breslin
Rated PG


By Kunal Mishra
Daily Cougar Staff

As children, many of us occasionally pondered our futures. What will we be like? How will we look? Who will be in our life? The latest release from Disney, The Kid makes it supernaturally possible to answer this question.

Russ Duritz (Bruce Willis) is a successful image consultant who is heartless and preoccupied in his own world. He has completely distanced himself from his family and pseudo-girlfriend Amy (Emily Mortimer), whom he takes for granted.

One day, while stuck in a traffic jam, Russ is the only one who sees an old-fashioned red plane skim over his convertible. This plane is the magical symbol of Russ' impending encounter with his 8-year-old self.

After going through a couple of scenes thinking that he's hallucinating about young Rusty (Spencer Breslin), Russ comes to terms with the experience.

Rusty has a few expectations about himself. He thinks the 40-year-old Russ has a dog, flies planes and is married. After finding out he has none of those three things, Rusty dejectedly exclaims, "I grow up to be a loser!"

In the live-action comedy, Disney's The Kid, Russ Duritz (Bruce Willis, right) and Rusty (Spencer Breslin, left) discover they share a common love for airplanes.

Frank Masi/Disney

Russ isn't too happy with his 8-year-old self either. He has tried to block out his childhood. Russ isn't too buoyant about his chubbiness as a kid.

The central theme of the plot has to do with the reason two different stages in a life have confronted each other.

Russ meets with a news anchorwoman (Jean Smart) he had met on a plane. Their conversation leads him in the right direction toward that reason.

On their birthday, Russ and Rusty are taken back in time to confront the past. Russ' experience enables him to realize that it is important to focus on the future.

The last 30 minutes of Disney's The Kid does a nice job of conveying the message.

Continuing with the trend of releasing family films rather than pure kiddie flicks, Disney has released a movie that can truly appeal to all ages. Adults and children alike can relate to the subject matter of The Kid.

During the past few years, Willis has begun to develop a rapport with children, taking roles that involve interactions with an autistic child murder witness (Mercury Rising), a grade schooler who sees dead people (The Sixth Sense) and now his eight-year-old self.

Director Jon Turteltaub can vouch for the effort Willis puts into his work.

"By videotaping Spencer, Bruce saw exactly how Spencer the adult might behave and then mimicked his mannerisms and body language in ways I never thought to find. He brought a huge amount of realism to the character that can't be forced or faked."

Being the title role, the part of Rusty and the acting of Breslin can make or break the film. Screenwriter Audrey Wells avoided making the character of Rusty precocious, while Breslin didn't taint the role but made it pleasant to watch.

There wasn't much on-screen chemistry between Willis and Mortimer. However, she was fine as Amy. Lily Tomlin, Russ' personal assistant, made her usual wise cracks in the few scenes that she appeared.

Disney's The Kid is a comedy that goes beyond the laughs. As mentioned earlier, it has an introspective message for all of us.

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