[[caption-width-right:348: He's so bad, even the nuns refused to keep him.]]

->''"Just this morning, I came upon a seven-year-old. He's smart as a tack, a little rambunctious, but, weren't we all at that age?"''
->--Igor Peabody introducing the Healys to Junior for the first time.

''Problem Child'' is a 1990 comedy film directed by Creator/DennisDugan and starring Creator/JohnRitter. It surrounds the destructive antics of a seven-year-old boy known only as Junior, who has been shuffled from foster home to foster home because he has the social skills of a Tasmanian Devil. He ultimately lands in the hapless custody of Ben Healy’s family, and HilarityEnsues.

This movie received overwhelmingly negative reviews during its theatrical release, and is [[Creator/DennisDugan Dennis Dugan's]] second worst reviewed film on Website/RottenTomatoes, second only to ''Film/JackAndJill'', but has since received cult status on home video. It was followed by two sequels, ''Problem Child 2'' in 1991, and ''Problem Child 3: Junior in Love'' in 1995.

There was also an animated television series based on the movies. Its page is [[WesternAnimation/ProblemChild here]].
!!Tropes associated with these movies:


* AntiRoleModel: Junior is practically this.
* AssholeVictim: About 95% of Junior's targets. The other 5% is mostly poor Ben getting caught in the crossfire.
* BadToTheBone: Junior’s leitmotif is none other than George Thorogood's "Bad to the Bone".
* BerserkButton: Don't speak ill of or insult Ben within earshot of Junior. [[LaserGuidedKarma It WILL bite you on the ass. Hard.]]
* BigBad: Bow-Tie Killer. Junior applies as well.
** In the second film, we got [=LaWanda=] (at least for Junior), and Trixie (in general).
* ChildHater: Igor Peabody, Big Ben Healy, and [=LaWanda=] Dumore really top the cake. Many of the former's jobs all revolve around children in some way.
* {{Hypocrite}}: Big Ben Healy has referred to Junior as "evil" and "the devil" even though he's a genuine antagonistic jerkass himself.
* ItsAllAboutMe: Flo Healy and [=LaWanda=] Dumore only care about making themselves look good.
* {{Jerkass}}: Anyone who makes the ill-advised mistake of antagonizing Junior... but Big Ben Healy is the textbook case of this trope!
* JerkWithAHeartOfGold: Junior, although he doesn't show it much. Trixie is also one. [[TheLastOfTheseIsNotLikeTheOthers Big Ben Healy isn't one.]]
* KidsAreCruel: Junior, but only to [[AssholeVictim people who deserve it]]. Junior himself is picked on by other kids just because he's adopted.
* MeaningfulName: Ben Healy literally heals Junior.
* MonsterClown: A RunningGag is that Junior hates clowns. He isn't particularly scared of them, though; they just seem to piss him off.
* MoralityPet: Odd as it sounds, Ben Healy is THIS to Junior! (See MeaningfulName)
* NewJobAsThePlotDemands: Gilbert Gottfried's character, Mr. Peabody, who was an adoption agent in the first film, a principal in the second (and cartoon) and a dentist in the third.
* NiceGuy: Ben Healy is the nicest person in the series, hands down, because he genuinely loves Junior even when he's bad. The problem is that a lot of people find it easy to take advantage of that kindness.
* NoIndoorVoice: What did you expect from Gilbert Gottfried?
* OnlySaneMan: Ben Healy. Except when Junior wrecks his car, and Bow-Tie Killer shows up at their house, and takes his wife and Junior. He has totally lost it then up until he finds an item that causes him to come back to his senses.
* ReCut: Both ''1'' and ''2'' aired on television, edited for content, but with newly-added scenes to make up for what was cut. You can watch them [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gCPTjLXrhYY here]] and [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_suTCYLgZOU here]].
* ShoutOut: Below is a list of examples from all three movies:
** The poster of the 1st movie resembles that of ''Film/{{Parenthood}}''.
** During the 3rd film, when Murph (Eric Edwards) introduces Junior to his sister Bertha (played by Edwards in drag), Junior says "Who let her out of Jurassic Park?" Both ''Film/JurassicPark'' and ''Problem Child'' franchises were Universal Pictures releases.
** Also during the 3rd film, Dr. Peabody wears a ''Comicbook/{{Watchmen}}'' button on his suit.
* VillainProtagonist: Junior. He deliberately makes life difficult for everyone by pulling dangerous pranks [[ItAmusedMe because he finds them funny]], often going for DisproportionateRetribution for the slightest insults.
%%** Trixie also counts in the second movie.
%%What makes them villain protagonists? Do not uncomment the above examples without expanding them to explain this.
* UrineTrouble: Quite a few of Junior's particularly disgusting pranks involve it.
* WhyDoYouKeepChangingJobs: Mr. Peabody goes from working at the orphanage in the first movie (where he and the nuns push Junior onto the Healys) to being a school principal (who promotes Junior to the sixth grade and has to tangle with him and his DistaffCounterpart Trixie) to being a sadistic dentist in the third movie where he gives Junior BracesOfOrthodonticOverkill out of spite.

[[folder:Problem Child]]
* AdoptionDiss: Lucy Henderson says this about Junior, claiming that "He's not even a real kid. He's adopted."
* AllJustADream: The TV version adds a scene during Martin's ink blot test, in which he hallucinates, and dreams about being set to the electric chair, and escaping from it in the process, but not before sending the Warden to it.
* AndThereWasMuchRejoicing: The nuns throw a celebration at the orphanage when Ben Healy decides to adopt Junior.
* BatterUp: Junior's dad gives him the tip of "holding onto the bat" after two strikes. After hitting the ball, he holds onto the bat while making his way to the bases and uses it to beat up anyone in his way.
* BecauseYouWereNiceToMe: Junior is shown to actually like Ben as a father, since Ben was the first person to adopt him to actually treat him better.
* BigBad: Junior, being a VillainProtagonist, although Martin is even worse.
* ButtMonkey: Mother Superior. Eventually Ben and Flo Healy themselves. Practically anyone under Junior's sly revengeful stunts.
* ChekhovsGun: [[spoiler:The dried-up prune Ben carries around as a good luck charm, which ends up [[PocketProtector saving his life]] when he [[TakingTheBullet takes a bullet for Junior]]]].
* CorruptPolitician: Big Ben has absolutely ''no'' loyalty to the office he is running for, and all his campaign promises are BlatantLies. Fortunately, he's exposed as a phony at the end. (See IsThisThingOn).
* DiabolicalMastermind: Junior.
* DoorstopBaby: Junior was left at a random door, and this was repeated for each set of adoptive parents even when he outgrew the basket.
* EspeciallyZoidberg:
-->'''Big Ben Healy:''' Is there a lesson to be learned from all this? How about don't trust anyone?
-->'''Little Ben Healy:''' Not even your own father?
-->'''Big Ben Healy:''' Especially your own father!
* EveryoneCallsHimBarkeep: The Bow-Tie Killer is the nickname of Martin Beck.
* GroinAttack: The climax of the baseball scene. "We've adopted Satan."
* IHaveAFamily: Mayor Healy and Principal Peabody failed to keep their end of a bargain with mobsters. Healy played straight with the trope by stating he had a family. Peabody, on the other hand, said he didn't have one but could get one.
* ILoveTheSmellOfXInTheMorning:
-->'''Junior:''' [After breaking several milk bottles] I love the smell of spilled milk in the morning. It smells like victory. [[note]]This scene was exclusive to TV versions.[[/note]]
* InkblotTest: The prison psychiatrist is giving a Rorschach test to the Bow Tie Killer (Martin Beck), only the "inkblots" are actually bloodstains left by his victims. While the warden is in the room he lies, saying he sees things like butterflies and bunnies hopping across fields. This enrages the warden, and the psychiatrist forces him to leave. Once the warden leaves, the psychiatrist continues the test, and the Bow Tie Killer says he sees blood, and kills the psychiatrist, puts on his clothes and drives out of prison. Why no one was watching what was going on from behind a two-way mirror is anyone's guess.
* IsThisThingOn: Shortly before the climax, Ben asks his {{Jerkass}} father Big Ben for money to pay the ransom of his kidnapped wife and son while the former is preparing for his Mayor campaign speech. When he turns him down, Ben then asks "Hey dad! Why don't you tell all the voters what you really plan on doing with this town!" and surreptitiously turns on the camera:
-->'''Big Ben:''' I don't give a rat's ass for the voters! All I care about is the power and the power that'll give me the money. That's why I'm a success and you're not! America for the Americans. If you believe that nonsense, you're even stupider than I thought! I'd sell my soul to the Japanese if they made me an offer. And as for you, don't come suckering around me if you want something! The only thing you'll get from me is this! ''(moons the camera)''
* {{Jerkass}}: Big Ben Healy. The same with Flo. The same with many children, especially towards Junior. Junior himself is a quite a bit of one in his own way.
* LaserGuidedKarma: Several examples:
** The SpoiledBrat Lucy only invites Junior so she can get cake, ice cream, and the like says Junior can't participate in the activities and agrees with the girl that says that [[KickTheDog "He's not a real kid, he's adopted."]] Junior [[CrowningMomentOfAwesome ruins her party in epic fashion as payback.]]
** The little league players who mock Ben and Junior get a well deserved beatdown, and Junior [[GroinAttack slides under the catcher with the bat]] [[IncrediblyLamePun for two balls with one strike]].
** Ben sinking his JerkAss father's mayoral campaign (See IsThisThingOn).
* {{Leitmotif}}: The Bow Tie Killer has a harmonica tune playing whenever he comes on-screen.
* {{Mooning}}: Big Ben does this without realizing that the camera is on.
* NoAccountingForTaste: Ben is a NiceGuy while Flo is a self-centered harpy. The two share absolutely nothing in common.
* NotEvilJustMisunderstood: The Bow-Tie Killer claims he's this. Junior, however, actually plays it straight because he's a nice enough kid if he's treated like a human being.
* NunTooHoly: The nuns at the orphanage are downright ''mean'', and they eventually use underhanded tactics to trick the Healeys into adopting Junior.
* OhCrap: The parrot's reaction to Junior upon his arrival at the Healy house.
* PapaWolf: Ben, when he meets up with Martin at the Circus.
-->'''Little Ben Healy:''' "What did you say you Bow-Tie freak? NOBODY hurts my boy, now let him go!"
** [[spoiler:Same thing later on, when he uses himself as a shield to protect Junior from being shot by Martin.]]
* RecycledSoundtrack: The music during the bear attack is recycled from the 1987 film ''Film/RealMen,'' also scored by MilesGoodman and also starring Creator/JohnRitter.
* SpoiledBrat: There's nothing nice at all about Lucy Henderson [[AssholeVictim who definitely deserved what was coming to her]]. Flo is an adult version in that she spoils herself and forces Ben to cave into her every wish.
* TakingTheBullet: [[spoiler:Ben does this for Junior at the climax when the Bow-Tie Killer shoots at him.]]
* TakeThat: This line from Big Ben Healy speaks for itself.
-->'''Big Ben Healy:''' "Happy? You don't know what you're letting yourself in for. For all you know, his parents may have met in the looney bin. They might even be Democrats!"
* YouCanKeepHer: When the Bow Tie Killer kidnaps Flo and Junior, Ben is initially overjoyed that they are gone. However after seeing a drawing Junior made of him, he realizes Junior loves him and goes out to rescue him. Flo's not so lucky, though.

[[folder:Problem Child 2]]
* ArtisticLicenseEngineering: The Crazy Dance Scene. Normally, there would have been a kill switch in easy reach of the operator who could have shut the ride down for going too fast instead of simply gaping as he's shown to do. For that matter, the speed controls would likely be accessible only to him instead of simply being out in the open as they are. But then we wouldn't have a scene of unadulterated [[VulgarHumor gross-out comedy]].
* BadDate: Junior has a bit of a problem adjusting to his dad trying to get him a new mom, and as a result sabotages two of his dates. This sets up the CassandraTruth situation later in the movie where Junior is trying to get his dad not to marry [=LaWanda=] Dumore, a RichBitch ChildHater who has it in for him.
* BigBad: Junior and Trixie.
** [=LaWanda=], at least for them.
* BrickJoke: Big Ben's "Millionaire Starter Kit." Little Ben and Junior see a cheesy TV ad for the obvious scam, and later Junior calls Voytek, who's living in squalor with one of the kits sitting on the counter behind him. The gag comes later when Big Ben moves in with them, lamenting that his scheme went bust and he only sold ''one'' starter kit.
* ButtMonkey: Primarily [=LaWanda=]. But all other Ben's dates take the brunt as well. Mr. Peabody is in several scenes. The School Teacher in one scene, not to mention Junior himself in one scene when he is outsmarted and hosed by Trixie. Ben Healy is in one scene. Big Ben Healy is in one to several scenes as well. Practically anyone under Junior's sly revengeful stunts.
* TheCanKickedHim: Junior throws dynamite down a toilet to stop Trixie's prank, causing all the toilets to explode, including one his teacher is using. The teacher wears a diaper for the rest of the film.
* ChildHater: [=LaWanda=] Dumore. Cemented when she threatens to send Junior to boarding school in Baghdad (where there was a goddamn war on at the time the film was released!), out-and-out stated during the climax.
* CoolAndUnusualPunishment: [=LaWanda=] threatens to send Junior to Baghdad. Baghdad would probably get the worst of it.
* ColorCodedCharacters: Ben and Junior favor blue with a touch of red in their outfits, all of Big Ben's clothes are mostly green, just about everything [=LaWanda=] wears or owns is bright red, and Annie mostly wears white. The color motif enhances the more cartoony vibe of this movie when compared to the original.
* CoveredInGunge:
** The FoodFight scene, naturally.
** The Crazy Dance [[VomitChainReaction pukefest.]]
* DiabolicalMastermind: Junior, and Trixie.
* DisproportionateRetribution: Junior's barred from [[YouMustBeThisTallToRide an amusement park ride]] due to being about a millimeter too short. After he sees Trixie cheat her way in by wearing platform shoes, he decides to ''tamper with the ride's controls'', causing it to spin much too fast. Sure, it only made everyone on the Crazy Dance throw up, but [[FridgeHorror something much worse could have easily happened]].
* DistaffCounterpart: Trixie is every bit the prankster that Junior is. The difference is that Junior usually saves his material for [[AssholeVictim people who wrong him or his father]] while Trixie causes chaos [[ItAmusedMe for her own amusement.]]
* DogFoodDiet: Debbie Claukinski's ex-husband Voytek is in his rathole apartment eating Chow Down when Junior calls. Chow Down, which comes in Beef, Chicken, and Horse and made Nippy take a dump three times his size.
* TheDragon: Big Ben Healy pushes his son to marry [=LaWanda=] so he can be rich again.
* EntitledBastard: Big Ben Healy was a lousy father, and even worse step-grandfather to Junior, yet has no problems using his son's home as a safe house from the SEC.
* ExplosiveOverclocking: The Crazy Dance Sequence. Junior turns the machine up as far as it will go (why the ride's controls are so accessible in the first place is anyone's guess), resulting in a [[VomitChainReaction 2-minute barfing spree]] before the ride's machinery disintegrates in a shower of sparks and smoke.
* FlippingTheBird: Junior is driving his dad home, and an unseen driver cuts him off. The kid knows how to make use of "the highway salute".
* FoodFight: Ticked off when Junior flicks an olive into the cleavage of Mr. Peabody's date at the restaurant.
* GradeSkipper: Mr. Peabody skips Junior ahead just so he can get him out of the school faster.
* GuessWhoImMarrying: Ben nearly marries a child-hating millionairess.
** This continues the running theme of the first movie of him falling for less-than-savory women.
* HeelFaceTurn: Trixie started out antagonizing Junior but eventually she ends up befriending him.
* HeldBackInSchool: Murph has been at the school for at least as long as his long-suffering teacher. He's practically an adult and Junior insults him by saying he's been in the sixth grade since 1970.
* IAteWhat: When Junior is asked by two snotty twin girls to refill a pitcher of lemonade, he does so with urine. The twins' father, Aron Burger takes a drink from it.
* JarPotty: Junior takes a whiz in order to refill a pitcher of lemonade for a pair of snobbish twin sisters that he wants to get back at. The twins' father, Aron Burger is the one who ends up taking a sample of Junior's little concoction.
* {{Jerkass}}: [=LaWanda=]. Including Big Ben Healy. Many of the kids are as well, especially towards Junior. Junior himself is a quite a bit of one in his own way.
* LoudGulp: Ben Healy gives one of these when asking Nurse Annie on a date out of nervousness.
* MagicPlasticSurgery: Junior tried to avert the wedding of his father and [=LaWanda=] by having her get plastic surgery to get the world's biggest nose on the day of the wedding. [=LaWanda=] woke up and discovered her new nose. Then, just a few hours later, she reappeared with her original nose and she said that she had some "last-minute double-overtime plastic surgery". So, she had two surgeries on the same body part in the same day with no scars.
* MakeAWish: The purpose of the Love Rock.
* MustacheVandalism: Junior, a little jealous of the attention his adoptive father is giving Annie Young, decides to deface her picture in this way. He's found by Trixie, her daughter who is equal to him in being bad, who sternly warns him "I wouldn't do that if I were you." When Junior doesn't listen, Trixie floors him, says "Next time, you'll listen to me," and then draws a mustache on him with his own marker.
* NostalgiaFilter: Subverted in the beginning when Junior calls out Little Ben's reminiscing of Cold River.
-->'''Little Ben''': "I used to have a lot of fond memories of this place."
-->'''Junior''': "Fond memories? What are you talking about? Everybody hated you. Your father, your wife, those horrible neighbors."
-->'''Little Ben''': "You're right. Let's blow this joint!"
* NotMeThisTime: During a puppet show at the school, things suddenly take an insulting turn. Ben is certain Junior's behind it and storms the stage while yelling, but he discovers it was actually Trixie. Then he sees that Junior was sitting in the front row the entire time and just enjoying the show.
* NotSoDifferent: Ben feels this way after learning Annie has a problem child of her own.
* OffToBoardingSchool: "Whether you like it or not, I am going to marry your daddy. And when I do, you will be on the first plane to boarding school — in Baghdad!"
* OhCrap: Junior when he can't unfreeze Big Ben's dog. Nippy only gets unfrozen with the introduction of a new dog food called "Chow Down."
* SenselessPhagia: Two examples:
** Junior urinates into a pitcher of lemonade and passes it off to an unsuspecting bystander.
** Junior sets loose a cockroach army into his family’s dinner.
* ShipperWithAnAgenda:
** Big Ben is pressuring his son to marry [=LaWanda=] so they can live off her money. He doesn't care when Ben realizes who he actually loves since the marriage could get them rich.
** To prevent the marriage, Junior tries to set up Ben and Annie. In his defense, Annie is actually a nicer person.
* SleepCute: Junior and Trixie, at the foot of the Love Rock.
* SquashedFlat: Subverted. The Love Rock rolls over [=LaWanda=] and seemingly flattens her, but she was merely pushed into the ground and the only injuries she suffers are to her pride.
* SuckECheeses: Both families go there and a FoodFight breaks out.
* TooDumbToLive: [=LaWanda=] tries pulling a YouShallNotPass on a rolling boulder and gets crushed. She only survives by luck.
* VillainousBreakdown: "Oh... Oh...'' [[ItMakesSenseInContext I'M PINOCCHIO!]]''"
** Her real breakdown comes later when Trixie crashes the wedding with a backhoe carrying the Love Rock, which is when the mask concealing her ChildHater nature finally slips.
--->"I hate children! They've ruined everything! If I had enough power...I'd wipe them off the face of the earth!"
* VomitChainReaction: The Crazy Dance sequence combines this with CoveredInGunge.
* WeAreExperiencingTechnicalDifficulties: Invoked by Trixie when she hijacks the puppet show. (The bald eagle puppet: "I had to scratch my balls!")
* WinWinEnding: Everybody pretty much gets exactly what they wanted or needed in the end: Ben and Annie hook up, Junior and Trixie are best pals, [=LaWanda=] finds herself a more suitable new hubby in Big Ben, and Big Ben gets a sugar mama to punch his MealTicket.
* YouMustBeThisTallToRide: During the fair scene, Junior tries to get on the Crazy Dance ride, but is told that he has to be as tall as the tentacle, which he just barely isn't ("But it's only a millimeter!").
** To add insult to injury, Trixie, who's much shorter then him, manages to get in by putting on platform shoes..

[[folder:Problem Child 3: Junior in Love]]
* AmbiguouslyGay: Corky. And if that wasn't enough, the actor who played him, Blake Mciver Ewing, ''IS'' actually gay!
* BracesOfOrthodonticOverkill
* BratsWithSlingshots: Junior uses his on a horse that one of the three bullies is riding. The horse goes bananas when it gets hit, dumping the equestrian into the drink.
* DrillSergeantNasty: The Scout leader (he even calls his own son a sissy boy).
* HoistByHisOwnPetard: Junior drives Dr. Peabody and his [[HospitalHottie bombshell nurse]] insane by poisoning them with their own nitrous oxide (i.e., "laughing gas") and then tying both of them up in braces and dental floss.
* InkblotTest: After Junior and his Dad get in a car accident, because Junior didn't want to see a Shrink, he undergoes this test to prove that he's perfectly normal.
* KarmaHoudini: Junior. Sure, Duke, Corky, and Blade were mean to him, but the way he dealt with them was pretty violent and brutal; especially with Corky. Motivation? Jealousy about the girl!
** With Corky it is particularly played straight. Duke and Blade were actual bullies who harmed Junior physically multiple times. Corky, while not the nicest kid, never actually harmed Junior yet he was probably injured the most seriously. And what happens to Junior after that? Eats ice-cream with his dad!
* MadeForTVMovie
* NiceCharacterMeanActor: Tiffany; see ShaggyDogStory.
* NoCelebritiesWereHarmed: Corky [=McCullum=] is a parody of Macaulay Culkin.
* RearingHorse: When it gets hit in the flank with Junior's slingshot, Corky's horse ends up in this stance, throwing its rider into the air and into the drink.
* ShaggyDogStory: The whole film sees Junior's effort to gain the attention of a love interest and competing with three bullies to do it. After he finally overcomes the opposition, he finds that said girl is a [[NiceCharacterMeanActor snooty]] {{control freak}}. But it works out in the end as he meets a much nicer girl shortly after.
* ShoutOut: Dr. Peabody is wearing, [[IAmNotMakingThisUpDisclaimer of all things]], a ''ComicBook/{{Watchmen}}'' smiley-face-with-bloodstain button on his coat, though the blood looks slightly different in that it is covering the left eye instead of above it.
* WhatHappenedToTheMouse: Annie and Trixie from the second movie are neither seen or mentioned in this one.