Willis Finds His Inner Kid
Not to be confused with the Charlie Chaplin movie "The Kid" starring Bruce Willis is rather a strange but amusing movie; strange because it's a Disney movie featuring a more adult themed storyline yet they've tried to dumb it down to appeal to children. It makes it a rather weird blend of clever story, semi emotion and then child like slapstick and humour which doesn't really work because it doesn't know who it's really trying to appeal to. The storyline with a man finding the inner-child message is too high brow for children yet all the innocent humour makes it too low brow for adults. Quite simply "The Kid" just doesn't know who it wants to please, despite being mildly entertaining and amusing.
Russ Duritz (Bruce Willis - The Sixth Sense) has made a name for himself as an expert, ruthless image consultant whose life is all work work work. That is until he returns home one night to find an 8 year old child (Spencer Breslin - The Happening) in his house who when he gives chase to disappears, causing Russ to believe he is going crazy. But the young child returns and it suddenly becomes apparent that this young child is in fact Russ from his childhood and for some magical reason has turned up in Russ's present life to either be helped or to help.
The central storyline to "The Kid" is quite a nice one with a fantasy time travel element which makes you smile as soon to be 40 Russ is visited by the 8 year old version of himself. It lays room for plenty of comedy as the icy, arrogant and sarcastic older Russ not only struggles with what feels like a hallucination but also the cute, chubby, unconfident version of himself cramping his style and spoiling his professional image. Much of which follows a quite obvious line in comedy especially where Russ starts to think he is cracking up, but it works to bring a smile to your face. Even when the younger Russ starts to meddle with his older versions life trying to get him to fall for his assistant Amy it's still entertaining if a little obvious.
All of which is a nice innocent start with plenty of humour which will appeal to younger audiences. But then "The Kid" kicks into the high brow side of the story which is to do with the reasoning as to why the young Russ is visiting the older version of himself. It's not complex stuff but it is nicely done but maybe a little too clever for children as it focuses on finding the inner child in you, something which I hope young children don't think about. Even when it goes all Back to the Future-ish it doesn't loose the sort of cleverness to this adult themed storyline as it winds its way to what is to be frank an inevitable ending.
So it's a sort of strange blend of an adult storyline with childish humour, which surprisingly doesn't even work for an adult who is still in touch with his inner-child. But "The Kid" is saved by some nice performances especially from Bruce Willis who turns on the comic charm, the sarcasm and wit as adult Russ. When Willis turns on that sarcasm, delivers the smirk and the glint in his eye he is brilliant and reminded me of his character David in the TV show "Moonlighting". Alongside Willis is Spencer Breslin who turns the cuteness to maximum as the young Rusty, instantly adorable and delivers a performance equal in humour whilst not in awe of Willis at all. The combination of Willis and Breslin works well, better than I expected it to.
What this all boils down to is that "The Kid" whilst a mildly enjoyable Disney movie struggles because it doesn't know where to focus itself. The clever adult themed storyline about finding your inner child is too high brow for younger audiences but the then blend of childish comedy is maybe a little too low brow for adults. It just isn't sure who it wants to be for and although Willis and Breslin work well together delivering the laughs and the touching side of things it's wasted because of the mixed up styling.