Film: Richie Rich

Richie Rich (stylized as Ri¢hie Ri¢h) was the 1994 film version of the classic Harvey Comics character of the same name, starring Macaulay Culkin in his last official role as a "child actor".

Richard "Richie" Rich, Jr is the 13-year-old son of the world's richest man, billionaire business magnate and investor Richard Rich Sr. While the caring, jovial Richard Sr. and Richie's mother Regina are dedicated parents who have always provided him with the best of everything, his sheltered upbringing has cut him off from some of life's simplest pleasures — other than his loyal butler, Herbert Cadbury (Jonathan Hyde), Richie's only friends are the spoiled children of other billionaires, who have little interest in down-to-earth pursuits like his passion for baseball. When Cadbury arranges for the local children of blue-collar factory workers to come play at the Rich estate, Richie is overjoyed.... until the news breaks that his parents are missing and presumed dead following a plane crash.

Unbeknownst to Richie, the Riches' plane was bombed by their greedy CFO Laurence Van Dough (John Larroquette), who seeks to gain control of their empire, plunder their famed family vault and inherit their vast fortune. Van Dough's plan, however, immediately hits two snags - first, Richie's parents survived the crash and are merely lost at sea, and second, Richie himself (who was originally supposed to be aboard the same plane) has decided to step up and run the Rich business empire until his parents are found, with Cadbury serving as his legal guardian.

Richie immediately proves to be a business dynamo, achieving even more fame and fortune while bringing in his young friends as "research consultants" on the company's various kid-targeted products. The tide shifts again though when Van Dough has Cadbury framed for the bombing, removing the underage Richie's by-proxy authority over the company and essentially leaving him a prisoner in his own mansion.

Richie's only hope of getting his butler, his parents, his family business and his life back ends up being his live-in research scientist, Professor Keenbean, who devises a way to spring Cadbury from prison and attempt to locate the Riches' liferaft. Richie and his friends must then infiltrate the now highly-secured Rich manor, but meanwhile, Mr. Van Dough has discovered that Richard and Regina are still alive, and that he needs their voiceprint to unlock the door to the legendary family vault....

One of the two movies to star the characters, a Christmas themed sequel, Richie Rich's Christmas Wish, was released to Direct-To-Video in 1998. Unlike this movie, obviously, they had re-cast all the characters.

This film contains examples of:

  • Adaptational Attractiveness: Richie is a teenager played by Macaulay Culkin instead of a prepubescent boy. His mom Mrs. Rich is slim while plump in the comics. Oddly the reverse is true for Professor Keenbean. Cadbury is made a little younger and gets a Love Interest.
  • Adapted Out: Of the Rich household, Irona the Robot Maid is dropped from the movie.
  • Adaptational Villainy: Van Dough's namesake in the comics is Richie's uncle and Reggie's father (Reginald Sr.), who like his son was a jerk but not evil.
  • Affably Evil: Lawrence Van Dough at times, though he completely loses his cool at others.
  • Affectionate Nickname: Gloria's mother Diane tries to shorten Cadbury's first name to "Herb", which he immediately shoots down, claiming "I'm not a seasoning".
  • Agony of the Feet: Professor Keenbean suffered from this trope after inadvertently dropping a bowling ball on his foot.
  • Alliterative Name: Richard Rich, Regina Rich, Richie Rich, Gloria Glad.
  • Arbitrarily Large Bank Account: Averted - Regina says Richard has 70 billion dollars, which, even after 20 years of inflation, is still an incredibly large amount of money, although it has been attained by Bill Gates and Carlos Helu.
  • Badass Boast: When Ferguson roughly steers Richie away for his "protection", Cadbury warns him that if he touches him again, "you'll be the one needing protecting." Cadbury does more than boast later in the movie.
  • Bad Boss: Van Dough becomes this after he takes the helm.
  • Battle Butler: Cadbury, as seen during the scene where he busts out of prison after making quick work of the assassin sent to kill him. He also bests Van Dough's henchman during the climactic scene.
    Cadbury: Never mess with a man with sensitive teeth!
  • Battle Discretion Shot: When one of Van Gough's thugs tries to off Cadbury in a prison bathroom, the fight takes place just off-screen. Of course, as mentioned with the trope above, just because Cadbury is a butler doesn't mean he can't handle himself in a fight.
  • Beef Bandage: Gloria's mother gives Cadbury one after she sees his injuries from being in prison.
  • Benevolent Boss: Richard Rich Sr.; later Richie. Rich Sr. claims to have never fired anybody in his life. He makes an exception with the Big Bad, after he tries to murder him and his family
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Richie is one of the nicest rich kids in the world. Van Dough made the mistake of trying to kill his family and take over Rich Industries. It helps that the actor that plays him has a history of being a nice kid no one should mess with.
  • Big Eater:
    • Professor Keenbean. One scene shows him ordering multiple Quarter Pounders and boxes of fries from Richie's personal McDonald's, and sheepishly claiming he's working on analyzing the Secret Sauce.
    • Pee-wee entirely lacks personality traits aside from his eating habits.
  • Book Ends:
    • At the beginning after growing up, Richie is seen playing baseball. At the end of the film, he is playing baseball again, this time, with his new friends and with Cadbury as coach.
    • The movie opens with a giant green vault door opening and ends with it closing again.
  • Bowdlerize: On ABC Family, Regina's line "I look like Michael Jackson!" is cut. note  The scene mentioned under Male Gaze is, too.
  • Bullet Proof Vest: Keenbean's impervious spray turns any clothing into this, as well as making it dirtproof, stainproof, and waterproof. And it's more effective than any modern bullet-proof vest - Richie suffers no pain or even much of a response at all when he gets shot in the chest at point-blank range.
  • The Butler Did It: The villains make it appear as if Cadbury bombed the Riches' private jet.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Every single one of Keenbean's inventions. Which, by extension, makes Keenbean a Chekhov's Gunman and his lab a Chekhov's Armoury.
  • Comic Book Adaptation: Yes, a movie based on a comic book was turned into a comic book. It was also published by Marvel Comics, who through their Star Comics imprint published their own Richie Rich Expy comic book title named Royal Roy.
  • Conveyor Belt-O-Doom: The hopper that begins to feed Richie and his friends into Keenbean's molecular reorganizer.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: Lawrence van Dough.
  • Deconstruction: Of some aspects of the comics as relating to wealth. Richie really is a "Poor Little Rich Boy" because he craves friendship. The Rich family doesn't stuff their financial treasure in estate vaults, instead they keep treasured heirlooms and mementos which they treat as more important.
  • Demoted to Extra: Reggie, who is Richie's cousin in the comics.
  • Don't Call Me Sir: Cadbury calls Diane "madam", which she doesn't like. She constantly tells him not to call her that, which becomes sort of her catch phrase.
  • The Dragon: Mr. Ferguson to Van Dough.
  • Establishing Character Moment:
    • For Ferguson, it's when he roughly grabs Richie near the beginning and justifies it by saying "it's my job to protect him."
    • Van Dough when he fires his Chauffeur, for parking in a puddle he could have easily stepped over.
  • Evil Can Not Comprehend Good: After finding out the Rich's vault is filled with family heirlooms and that the Rich's treasure their family more then they do their money. Van Dough snaps and order his henchmen to kill the Rich family.
  • Family-Unfriendly Violence: For a family movie, having Van Dough shoot a 12-year-old multiple times in the chest was pretty intense - even if he was wearing a Bullet Proof Vest.
  • Fictional Pinball Game: The "Richie Rich" pinball, complete with gold-plated pieces and pictures of the Rich family. In reality, it was a modified version of Data East's The Who's Tommy. Pity.
  • Fiery Redhead: Gloria.
  • Five-Token Band: Richie's friends, with Richie filling out the rich kid quota.
  • Frameup: See below.
  • Gadgeteer Genius: Prof. Keenbean, whose inventions are truly world-changing, from a spray-on nanofluid that renders any material completely bulletproof to a prototype of an early Matter Replicator that rearranges the molecules of garbage into useful everyday items.
  • Gold Makes Everything Shiny: Many gold-plated versions of everyday objects turn up throughout the film, from rattles and pacifiers to a set of socket wrenches presented to the Riches by a tool and die factory whom they saved from bankruptcy.
  • Good Parents: Richard and Regina make sure they spend time with their son, even as they are working.
  • Grade School CEO: The definitive example. Richie takes over the company with Cadbury's backing after his parents' plane crash. This lasts one highly successful montage, until Cadbury is framed for the Rich's murder.
  • Happily Married: Richie's parents, very much so. Even when they're stranded in a liferaft with dwindling rations they remain completely at ease with each other and positive about their prospects.
  • Hero with Bad Publicity: Cadbury. But it's likely taken care of by the Riches.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: A rare non-villain example: Keenbean falls into a trap he set for Ferguson involving his super-strength adhesive, with near-disastrous results for Richie and his friends.
  • "Home Alone" Antics: The movie turned into this near the end, as the house's traps were used against the bad guys. This time it was a group of kids using them. This example might be an Actor Allusion too, since Macaulay Culkin starred as Richie as well as the first two Home Alones.
  • Honest Corporate Executive: Rich Sr.
  • Horrible Judge of Character: Being the Benevolent Boss he is, Richie's dad is this way at first when it comes to Van Dough; if not entirely unaware of the problem, at least hesitant at first to fire him.
    Regina: Oh Richard, wake up and smell the seaweed!
  • Humiliation Conga: Both villains get one. Ferguson has a towel superglued to his face, is knocked out, and gets stung in the ass by a robotic bee. Van Dough is left hanging for dear life on a sheer rock face, is fired by a 12-year-old boy, whose father has never fired anyone in his life, and gets punched in the face by the mother. And then both are reduced to blue-collar groundskeepers.
  • Idiot Ball: Van Dough holds onto this for the entire movie for his honest belief that the richest family on Earth would hoard all their money in a sealed vault rather than, say, invest it in banks, stocks and real estate.
  • Ironic Echo:
    Reginald: (pokes Ellsworth in the butt with his saber) Watch your rear. First rule of defense. (a servant gives him his drink) This is a cappuccino! I asked for a decaf café malate, you incompetent imbecile! If you can't do this job—
    (Richie pokes Reginald in the butt with his saber, causing him to spill his drink on him)
    Richie: First rule of defense, Reginald: always watch your rear.
    (Reginald leaves in a huff.)
  • The Jeeves: Herbert Cadbury
  • Jerkass: Ferguson.
  • The Lancer: Cadbury.
  • Large Ham:
    • The villains, obviously, especially Ferguson.
    • Professor Keenbean.
    • Regina Rich.
    Regina: "Oh my god, my nose, I look like Michael Jackson!"
  • Lonely at the Top: The movie's quick to point out that money doesn't buy happiness and the only thing that Richie doesn't have are real friends even the classmates he's close to make excuses to not hang out. Though this it's hinted they mean nothing Malicious. It's funny that the kids he does become friends with had to be bribed by Cadbury to hang out with him in the first place. They do quickly become friends with him.
  • Lonely Rich Kid: Richie.
  • Lost in Translation: A real life positive example. In the French dub, van Dough's line "Thank you, Beavis and Butthead" is replaced with the line "Looks like Homer and Marge".
  • Lucky Charms Title: Ri¢hie Ri¢h
  • Magic Countdown: When Richie's Computer does this counting down from 11.
  • Male Gaze: Richie Rich has Claudia Schiffer for an aerobics teacher. One scene shows Richie and Cadbury behind her, obediently following along with her instructions and mirroring her movements until she bends over to touch the floor, at which point Richie and Cadbury both stop and stare...
  • Meaningful Name: Van Dough a guy who's after the Rich's money.
  • A Minor Kidroduction: The beginning of the film starts with the birth of Richie, all the way up to his current age.
  • Mugged for Disguise: Well, actually, Cadbury was the one being attacked, but he still ends up with the thug's clothes anyway.
  • Nice to the Waiter:
    • Richie and his parents's relationship with Cadbury and the other Rich staff shows what good people they are.
    • Van Dough's attitude towards servants, such as firing his driver for a minor inconvenience, shows he's not a good person.
    • Richie's spoiled classmate Reginald screams at a servant who brought him the wrong kind of coffee, irritating Richie who causes him to spill said coffee all over his fencing uniform. The servant can't help but giggle at Reginald's misfortune.
  • Office Golf: Ellsworth does this in school.
  • Oh Crap!:
    • Both for Keenbean and for Richie and his friends when Keenbean gets stuck in his own superglue while trying to rescue them from Ferguson.
    • Richie's parents on the plane when they realize what "trinitrotoluene" is. TNT for short.
  • Parental Substitute: Subverted while Richie has loving parents, Cadbury is a second father to him subbing in whenever his parents can't be there. Played straight when they disappear and Cadbury becomes his legal guardian.
  • Papa Wolf: Cadbury when Ferguson manhandles Richie towards the beginning of the movie.
    Ferguson: It's my job to protect him.
    Cadbury: Yes, very well, Mr. Ferguson, but grab him like that again and it is YOU who will need protecting.
  • Pragmatic Adaptation: To deal with the property's deficit in female protagonists, the Hanna-Barbera series played up Irona as not only the Riches' Robot Maid, but as Richie's bodyguard with a myriad of functions to use in his protection.
  • Precision F-Strike
    Van Dough: (after his gun jams at a critical moment) Shit!
  • Product Placement: "You have your own McDonald's?!"
  • Psycho for Hire: Ferguson.
  • Punny Name: Laurence Van Dough, Professor Keenbean.
  • Reality Ensues: After hearing about the "Rich Family Vault", the villain immediately assumes that it's where he'll find the family's fortune. Astoundingly enough, the Riches didn't get rich by locking up all their wealth in a private, zero-interest vault (which turns out to be full of family heirlooms of low monetary worth). Their actual money is in banks, real estate, the stock market and other revenue generating forms. Notably, it was the opposite of the comics, where the Rich family really did stash cash, gold and jewels in numerous vaults on the estate.
  • Repetitive Name
  • Running Gag: Keenbean's inability (and eventual success) in making a bedpan with his machine.
  • Shoo Out the Clowns: Professor Keenbean and the street kids were completely absent during the climatic scene where Richie and his parents are trapped on Mt. Richmore and trying to avoid Van Dough.
  • Shout-Out: Richie's answer to Van Dough's suggestion.
  • Smart People Know Latin: Cadbury is seen to be skilled in reading Latin. Richie himself apparently knows enough Latin to send him a secret message in a greeting card. This may also count as a Chekhov's Skill.
  • Songs in the Key of Lock: "Side by Side" in duet.
  • Spoiled Brat: Reginald.
  • Spoiled Sweet: Richie is stated to the richest boy in the world but is a nice boy who longs to have friends.
  • There Is No Kill Like Overkill: Ferguson's attempt to blast the Rich family with a giant laser cannon, which does plenty of damage to Mount Richmore, but none to the Riches themselves.
  • Transformation Ray: The molecular reorganizer.
  • Tyrant Takes the Helm: What Van Dough does with Rich Industries after his assassination attempt on Richie's parents.
  • Villainous Breakdown:
    Van Dough: The money? Where is the money?!
    Mr. Rich: (in his best are-you-fucking-kidding-me? voice) In banks! Where else? Oh! And the stock market, real estate...
    Van Dough: Are you kidding me? You mean to tell me that there isn't a single gold bar, or emerald, or thousand dollar bill in this entire mountain?!
    Mr. Rich: Well, I'm sorry to disappoint you Lawrence, but that's not what we treasure.
    Van Dough: Shoot them! Shoot them now, please!
  • Villain with Good Publicity: Lawrence Van Dough after he frames Cadbury for the Riches' disappearance.
  • Ultimate Job Security: What Rich Industries employees enjoy thanks to Richie's father - unless, of course, you try to kill his family and take over the company.
  • We Have Ways of Making You Talk: "How would you like to spend the rest of your life as a bedpan?"
  • Worthless Treasure Twist: The Rich family vault contains only heirlooms that are precious to them but not particularly valuable to anyone else. This, of course, leads to Van Dough's Villainous Breakdown. Completely justified in that the Riches aren't stupid to keep all their money in a vault instead of productively investing it.
  • Would Hurt a Child: The villains are more than willing to shoot children, turn them into bedpans, blast them with a laser, etc.
  • You Have to Believe Me: Van Dough refuses to believe Keenbean doesn't know the vault's location.