There are some very strange kids' books out there. One series is about a kid whose legal guardians try to literally scare him to death in the hopes of collecting insurance. So with some of the odd premises out there that make their way into kids' books, it should be no surprise that this movie was originally a novel.
However, what may have worked in a novel doesn't necessarily translate into movie form, as the movie is widely hated, but people don't throw such invective at the book, which actually has average reviews.
The premise is of course absurd - even moreso in the book, where North is nine
years old instead of eleven. But I'm not going to recap the plot here.
What I find really strange is just how much kids boss adults around the whole time. I get that this is a story about kids suddenly getting the ability to boss their parents around due to a strange legal ruling, but it doesn't explain how an 11-year-old is able to be the boss of a hitman. None of the adults act like this is strange in the least. Come to think of it, an 11-year-old hiring a hitman to kill a fellow classmate in order to prevent said classmate from undoing the "kids have parents at their beck and call" rule? That alone should be evidence that this movie was spawned from a tall tale.
Look, we all know that tall tales are stupid, especially when you can see them visually. But this movie goes father than that: it's a comedy, and a really bad one.
Each family that North tries out is a stereotype taken to absurd extremes. I'm not offended by them, but rather annoyed - in particular, the Alaskan family who sends their grandfather on an ice floe out to die because... I guess that's what we're supposed to believe Alaskans do? I can see how people would find these stereotypes offensive if they were afraid that their kid would believe them. Still, it's really just dumb. Each family turns out to be imperfect or disturbing in some way that makes North want to move on to the next.
All the families are so happy to try to get North to like him, that I can't help but notice... everyone kisses North's ass. We are witnessing a very bizarre, twisted world where 11-year-olds are celebrities worshipped by adults, and a hitman is hired by one kid to murder another kid. What is this world? Oh wait, it's All Just a Dream
. I guess it all makes sense now.