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The Kid & I (PG-13)

Release Date: December 2nd, 2005 (NYC-Village East Cinemas and AMC Empire 25) by Slowhand Releasing.
The Cast: Tom Arnold, Eric Gores, Richard Edson, Joe Mantegna, Henry Winkler, Shannon Elizabeth, Linda Hamilton.
Directed by Penelope Spheeris.

BASIC PREMISE: Bill (Arnold) writes a sequel to True Lies for Aaron (Gores), a teenager with cerebral palsy who must co-star with him.

ENTERTAINMENT VALUE: The plot begins just as Bill is at the bottom of his career as an actor. When he gets an opportunity to make some money, he takes it without considering the consequences. Davis (Mantegna), a wealthy man, hires him to write and star in a sequel to True Lies for his 18 year-old son whoís obsessed with the True Lies . The catch is that Aaron must be in the movie, too, even though he has no experience with acting and has a mental disability. The silly, predictable plot brings Aaron and Bill closer together while they make the movie. Tom Arnold was very funny in his brief True Lies scenes, but here, as the lead, his comic timing simply becomes old and tiresome pretty quickly. There are a few funny one-liners, such as a reference to Steven Seagal and two surprising cameos in the third act. However, the shift from comedy to drama is often awkward and many scenes simply seem contrived and under-acted. Eric Gores does give a decent performance as Aaron, but the well-meaning script tries too hard to make you sympathize with him. Above all, itís difficult to believe the strong bond between him and Bill. Linda Hamilton is wasted as Aaronís overbearing, controlling mother with her brief scenes. In particular, the third act during the production of the film feels too rushed and chaotic to be funny or even remotely realistic.

SPIRITUAL VALUE: Overall, itís somewhat heartwarming that Bill tries to make Aaron happy by casting him in a movie, but Billís initial intentions derive from mere greediness. Would he have done the same if he wasnít so broke? With the stilted script, itís difficult to tell Billís true intentions even when he continues to make the film for Aaron no matter what the obstacles are.

INSULT TO YOUR INTELLIGENCE: Unrealistic script and a very contrived, silly plot.


THE BOTTOM LINE: Sporadically funny and well-meaning with a few great one-liners, but the contrived plot is one big, silly mess. By the end, you will wish you had watched True Lies instead of The Kid & I .


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