Why Disney Studios decided to begin the title of this film with 'Disney's' is a bit of a mystery. If it was to distinguish it from Charlie Chaplin's 1921 silent film, The Kid, then that was a noble gesture. However, the prominent Disney label also ends up making this movie sound like a children's film, which it isn't! This is a movie for all ages, something sadly lacking in today's Hollywood.
Disney's - The Kid is a great original family film along the same lines as the Tom Hanks film Big, combined with some aspects of Back to the Future. Bruce Willis plays Russ Duritz, a middle-aged cynic who suddenly discovers a small boy lurking about his house. That boy turns out to be Russ' 8 year old self, Rusty, played by Spencer Breslin. Together they help each other find out more about themselves (himself) than they (he) could ever have thought possible.
The supernatural aspects of the story are confusing at first, but actually come together quite cleverly as the film progresses. There is some mystery concerning a red bi-plane that only Russ seems to notice, and a ghostly roadside diner that appears and disappears, again with only Russ or Rusty noticing it. Also, the color red is used throughout the film to signal each supernatural occurance. Interestingly, this is the same method used in The Sixth Sense, which also starred Bruce Willis and a small child. I don't know if this was just a coincidence or was an in-joke by the filmmakers, but either way it's a great piece of trivia and adds to the charm of this movie.
Bruce and Spencer have great chemistry and Spencer's performance is very good. He is able to hold his own in scenes with both Bruce Willis and Lily Tomlin, without going overboard, a daunting task for any child actor.
Lily Tomlin, who plays Russ' assistant, Janet, was fantastic, and has many of the funniest lines. I suspect that her character was written to reflect her own personality and sense of humor, and that Lily Tomlin may have come up with many of her own lines.
Bruce Willis once again gives a believable performance, and seems to have found a style that will work just as well for him now as smart-mouthing between explosions had worked for him in the past. This more mature Bruce is actually returning to his pre-action-movie roots, and his performance reminded me of just how good he was in the television show Moonlighting. Much of the manic frustration of that show's character, David Addison, resurfaces in Russ, and it was refreshing to see.
So, ignore that giant, glowing 'DISNEY'S' label seen in the trailer and see this movie. You may just be surprised to rediscover the kid in yourself!
Directed By: John Turteltaub
Starring: Bruce Willis, Spencer Breslin,
Lily Tomlin, Emily Mortimer, Jean Smart
Rated: PG (Language)
Running Time: 104 Min.