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Disney's The Kid

Viewers of Ingmar Bergman's Wild Strawberries and Woody Allen's Annie Hall will recall that both movies feature memorable moments in which their protagonists revisit a scene from their childhood, coming face to face with younger versions of themselves. Imagine that scene stretched to feature length, starring Bruce Willis, and given a jaunty/syrupy score, a joke involving the phrase "fart bubbles," and a porky scream-prone grade-schooler (as the younger Willis), and you have Disney's The Kid, a tedious but essentially benign children's film from Cool Runnings director Jon Turteltaub. Willis plays an unpleasant image consultant who makes everyone look good except himself. Tortured by Disneyfied angst that causes him to behave far more rudely than he ought, Willis' life begins to change upon the sudden reappearance of his younger self (unpromising newcomer Spencer Breslin). Choosing to ignore a potentially cataclysmic disruption of the time-space continuum, through several grating sessions of screamed exchanges the two learn quite a bit about each other, becoming, as if there were any doubt, better people. Rounded out by an able supporting cast (including Lily Tomlin and Emily Mortimer), Disney's The Kid would be far better if it weren't so loud, an approach abandoned only for a maudlin finale. Still, it's busy enough that kids probably won't mind it, and its message is fairly harmless, particularly for youngsters in need of further instruction in the importance of believing in oneself. If you already sufficiently believe in yourself, or are afflicted with the sort of crippling self-doubt that Disney-produced Bruce Willis vehicles can't cure, you might want to give it a pass.


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