[[quoteright:348:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/problem_child_1990_film_166.jpg]]
[[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 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]].
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!!Tropes associated with these movies:
[[folder:General]]
* AssholeVictim: About 95% of Junior's targets.
* 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]] '''''[[LaserGuidedKarma will]]''''' [[LaserGuidedKarma 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).
* BowtiesAreCool: The Bow-Tie Killer. Junior even wore one during the first film, because he idolized him. However, he threw it away at the end.
** For no reason, Junior wore one in ''3'', ignoring this fact. Though granted, the film was written by different people, compared to the first two.
* CaliforniaDoubling: Averted with all three films in a way. The first film was set in the fictional Cold River, and the next two films were set in the fictional Mortville. The first film was filmed in Texas, the second film was filmed in Florida (including the newly-opened Universal Studios Florida), and the third film was filmed in Los Angeles.
* JerkWithAHeartOfGold: Junior, although he doesn't show it much. Trixie is also one. Ben Healy's father is 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: Junior has a fear of this as a RunningGag.
* 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
** 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 ''Jurassic Park'' and ''Problem Child'' franchises were Universal Pictures releases.
** Also during the 3rd film, Dr. Peabody wears a ''Watchmen'' button on his suit.
* VillainProtagonist: '''Junior'''
** Trixie also counts in the second movie.
* WhyDoYouKeepChangingJobs: 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.
* YouLookFamiliar: Ben Healy's mean wife in ''Problem Child'' and his sweet-natured love interest in ''Problem Child 2'' are played by the same actress. Oddly, no-one points out the resemblance. Amy Yasbeck, the actress in question was John Ritter’s real-life wife at the time.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Problem Child]]
* 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.
* BigBad: Junior.
** Bow-Tie Killer, even more so.
* 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]]]].
* DiabolicalMastermind: Junior.
* DoorstopBaby: Junior, repeatedly.
* 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.
* 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)''
* 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 gir 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.
* {{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.
* 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.
* 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 JohnRitter.
* ShoutOut: The movie poster resembles that of ''Film/{{Parenthood}}''.
* [[spoiler:TakingTheBullet: 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]]

[[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.
* 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, 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.
* 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.
* 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.
* 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 disintigrates 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.
* 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.
* 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.
* 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.
* SleepCute: Junior and Trixie, at the foot of the Love Rock.
* 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!")
* 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]]

[[folder:Problem Child 3: Junior in Love]]
* AmbiguouslyGay: Corky
* BracesOfOrthodonticOverkill
* BratsWithSlingshots: Junior uses his on a horse that one of the three bullies is riding. Said 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").
* 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.
* MadeForTVMovie
* NoCelebritiesWereHarmed: Corky McClullen is a parody of Macaulay Culkin.
* 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.
* WhatHappenedToTheMouse: Annie and Trixie from the second movie are neither seen or mentioned in this one.
[[/folder]]