John Turteltaub (2000, Walt Disney Pictures)
Starring Bruce Willis, Spencer Breslin, Emily Mortimer, and Lily
A man is introduced to himself as a kid, and is disappointed in
what he sees his life has become.
March 17th, 2001 on Video
Very slow to get started,
mediocre through the rest, but every scene with the actual "kid" was
Bruce Willis seems to think he can be a successful arrogant and hate-able guy just by shouting and waving his arms. He did it in
The Story of Us, and here again. In neither case does it work. He is also beginning to show a tendency to be outshone by the children he stars with, as in
The Sixth Sense, and here again!
Spencer Breslin was amazing as the young Rusty, sent forward in time to help his older self get his life back on track. His shock and annoyance that nothing turned out like he had planned was absolutely perfect. His mannerisms, voice, and attitude were
precisely on target for a kid his age for whom things are not going well, and
sees his dreams fall apart before his eyes.
Unfortunately, there isn't enough of him. The movie goes through almost its halfway point before the kid arrives. Up to this point, we get to see Russ interact and be a jerk (the word is used specifically in reference to Russ many times throughout the film) with his girlfriend-who-isn't-a-girlfriend Amy, and his secretary Janet, as well as other people who hire him or simply interact with him. I got the point that he was a jerk way before all of this, thanks.
Amy is the sweetest person, and I can't figure out why she stays with him, even as an employee. Her explanation that every time she wants to walk away he does something to surprise her is very weak. But finally she sees young Russ, and she falls in love with the young boy, especially when she learns who he really is. The moment where Rusty proposes to her is absolutely wonderful ("in case I never get around to doing it in the future" he says, looking at his older self)!
The movie also goes on too long pining away for what Russ' life could have been. Again, the point was driven home numerous times. And it wasn't really that interesting. When they finally figure out what Rusty is doing in the future, they end up in the past, where the young boy must fight a school gang to save a three-legged dog. His dying mother picks him up from school, and his father is extremely angry with him. Strangely enough, the future does not change.
There is a constant reference to an airfield and the airfield's diner. A red plane keeps buzzing Russ, and Rusty always wanted to be a pilot. They had a model plane when they were young, and it turns out that they have a real plane of their own when they get older, because Rusty finally disappears when the
third generation of Russ shows up, with his wife and kids and dog, and flies off the airfield.
That sets the rest of his life, as he shows up to Amy's door with a young puppy.
The movie was very funny when it dealt with the antics of young Rusty ("you mean we don't have a dog!!"), but fell very flat with Willis. It was also quite dull at
spots, taking a very long time to get from one point to the next. Fun, but keep the fast-forward button ready.