A 1976 live-action Disney film.
Tracy (Kim Richards) and Jay (Brad Savage) are two children who are excitedly looking forward to an Easter vacation with their mother. Unfortunately, their mother is too busy to see her children, and they are instead being sent to their wealthy grandfather J.W. Osborne (David Niven) for the umpteenth time. Tired of the same vacation they get every Easter, Tracy and Jay run away from the airport (with their pet skunk) and end up getting taken in by Duke (Darren McGavin) and Bert (Don Knotts), two down-on-their-luck safe crackers with a huge sum of money to pay to their loan shark Big Joe (Vic Tayback).
Meanwhile, police sergeant Max Turner (Herschel Bernardi) has spent his career chasing down the infamously unlucky safe crackers, but his search has been fruitless. Partnered with rookie detective Longnecker (Charles Martin Smith), he is put on the case of the apparent kidnapping of the two children for a $100,000 ransom. This is, of course, just a brilliant scheme by the two children to help their two benefactors out of their debts.
However, not only does the grandfather fail to take the ransom seriously, but Big Joe finds out about the ransom, and decides to kidnap the children for real. Meanwhile, the kids' mother comes to Los Angeles to help Turner and Longnecker bring Duke and Bert to justice...
Examples of tropes include:
- Chase Scene: One of the most climactic scenes in the film.
- Construction Zone Calamity: Bert chases Jay who chases Duster into a construction zone.
- Corruption by a Minor: The fake kidnapping is Tracy's idea, but Duke refuses to go along with it at first due to only being a safecracker, not a kidnapper.
- Heel Realization: Near the end of the film. J. W. Osborne realizes he needs to start treating the kids as grandchildren rather than unwanted babysitting responsibilities. He comes through in the final scene.
- Humiliation Conga: Turner and Longnecker's car.
- Instant Convertible: Done to a police cruiser at one point.
- Knight of Cerebus: Big Joe is set up to be this... then gets outsmarted by the kids.
- Latex Perfection: Turner tries to disguise himself as the grandfather. An unusually realistic version, as the mask fails to show expression, and Turner complains about how hot and stuffy it is to wear it.
- Locked In A Safe: The children during the climax, requiring Duke to crack the safe to get them out.
- Mama Bear: Carolyn flies all the way from Hong Kong to San Francisco when word get to her that the kids are missing. She also jumps in to Bert and Duke's car as it's driving away, which is a pretty gutsy move.
- Mass "Oh, Crap!": When Jay asks, "Has anyone seen a skunk?" in a crowded area, everyone begins running away.
- Parental Obliviousness: It takes a massive What the Hell, Hero? speech loaded with many a Armor-Piercing Question from Duke for Carolyn to realize that not being part of her kids' lives is why they're considered troublemakers.
- Pity the Kidnapper: Sums up J. W. Osborne's attitude quite well, much to the frustration of Turner.
- Reality Ensues: During the Construction Zone Calamity scene, Duke and a few bystanders try to use a random cloth as a makeshift safety net in case Bert falls. After telling the group to, "Stretch it tighter!" the cloth- not designed for stretching- simply rips apart.
- Shipper on Deck: After having spent several days with Duke and especially after he saves her life, Tracy is not too subtle about the idea of getting him together with her mom.
- Smelly Skunk: Duster. He never actually sprays anyone, though, he just scares everyone away.
- Sympathetic Inspector Antagonist: Sergeant Turner. Subverted with Longnecker, thanks to him being annoying.
- What the Hell, Hero?: Duke absolutely unloads on Carolyn for being a Missing Mom to her kids.Duke: What kind of a mother are you? Spread out all over the world! You can't raise your kids long distance, or by teachers, a maid, or a grouchy grandpa!
- Wounded Gazelle Gambit: How Tracy eventually guilts Duke into taking the kids in for the first night.