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The Kid (2000) starstarstar

Reviewed 2001-06-27
: Is this a Bruce Willis film -- or is it a Walt Disney film? Actually, the collaboration on The Kid was charming, sweet, and funny, even if the plot resolution didn't make much sense. Bruce Willis plays Russ, a high-Second Look Reviewpowered "image consultant" who has no family and no life -- not even a dog. The one woman who likes him he keeps at arm's length because he is emotionally dead inside. But one day he meets himself... at age 8. The "kid" is at first an embarrassment, then an enlightenment. And soon his life is changed.

I know some people don't like Bruce Willis -- I admit his smirk is a little grating -- but he seems to be one of the hardest-working actors in Hollywood. He must know in his heart that he could just as easily be parking cars in LA as acting in big-budget films. But I think he has the talent to accompany the humility, and he has earned his place at the top. Not only that, the comic skills I saw in The Whole Nine Yards are on full display in The Kid. Not only that, Willis had some help from a great supporting cast: the kid, Rusty (Spencer Breslin), was perfect as his alter ego; Lily Tomlin was excellent as Janet, his unflappable assistant; and the girlfriend, Amy (Emily Mortimer), was strong-willed and competent. If I have one raspberry for this film, it's for making Willis's love interest half his age -- but this is Hollywood's way, I guess.

In a small role, Deirdre (Jean Smart), the TV news anchor who gets free image advice at the beginning of the film, returns to fill out her character and return Russ's favor at the end. I've seen the 42-year-old Smart before, probably on "Designing Women." So I award two extra points to this movie, by the way: one for having as a featured player an attractive woman over 40 (a rarity); another for having a child who isn't overly bright, annoyingly disrespectful of adults, and too thin to be real. Hooray for Hollywood!

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Ronald Bruce Meyer is a freelance reviewer.