ABC-HD: Disney's The Kid 8pm EST (1 Viewer)

Sean Mota

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Sep 8, 2003
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Summary: Russ Duritz (Bruce Willis) is an ultracynical, 40-year-old L.A. image consultant who fashions bogus façades for scumbag clients. Oblivious to his own need for a makeover, he's a tyrant in the office (to the chagrin of his sarcastic assistant, played to perfection by Lily Tomlin), and he's emotionally unavailable to the morally centered woman (Emily Mortimer) who senses goodness beneath Russ's hardened veneer. Not a moment too soon, a pudgy kid (Spencer Breslin) mysteriously appears in Russ's life, revealing himself to be Rusty Duritz--that is, Russ's 8-year-old self, arriving by some magic to put the adult Russ's life into beneficial perspective. This variation on A Christmas Carol has Rusty guiding Russ on a tour of his past to reveal how he became a loveless, hard-shelled loser. It takes a bit of smarmy chicken-soup psychology to explain it all, but The Kid is an otherwise charming and involving fantasy, suggesting that perhaps we'd all benefit from a bit of counseling by our younger selves. Written with admirable restraint by Audrey Wells (who brought a similar appeal to The Truth About Cats and Dogs) and directed by Jon Turteltaub (Cool Runnings), the movie doesn't force its supernatural elements or attempt to explain Rusty's existence. It's just a fable for our modern age and a reminder to embrace the better angels of our nature. Delivered with an easy blend of humor and sentiment, that message makes The Kid an unexpected pleasure. (Look closely for Matthew Perry as Willis's shaggy-haired client.) --Jeff Shannon
 

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