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Film / The Kid (2000)

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"All I see when I look at him is a collection of awful memories. Memories I spent most of my adult life trying to forget."

"So let me get this straight. I'm forty, I'm not married, I don't fly jets, and I don't have a dog? ...I grow up to be a loser."
Rusty Duritz

Disney's The Kid is a 2000 film starring Bruce Willis, Emily Mortimer, and Spencer Breslin.

40-year-old Russ Duritz is a successful image consultant with a variety of clients ranging from TV personalities, to famous athletes to government officials. He has a nice car, a large house, everything you could ask for... except a life. He's also a bit of a jerk.

One day he finds a kid who somehow got into his house and makes a startling discovery. This kid is Rusty Duritz, himself at age 8. Now he has to figure out what to do with... himself while starting to remember a few things that he had forgotten about himself.

Not to be confused with The Kid (1921), which stars Charlie Chaplin.

The Kid contains examples of:

  • Abusive Parents: Russ's dad is revealed to have been verbally abusive, to the point that young Rusty was afraid to tell him that he found a screw he lost because he was afraid of incurring his wrath. Also that his father grabbed him by the shoulders, shook him violently, let him know that his mother was dying, and harshly accused him of killing her faster after getting into a fight in school, and worst of all, that this episode alone (never mind the fact that this man had to raise Rusty alone after his mother died) would force Rusty to suppress his emotions and turn him into an emotionally crippled adult because he harshly forced him to stop crying, and then to grow up faster, which only increased Rusty's fear.
  • Anger Born of Worry: Russ explains to young Rusty that his father yelled at him and told him he was killing his mother not because he really believes Rusty was responsible, but because he's just scared—scared for his wife, scared about the prospect of having to raise him alone—and that he was expressing it badly.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: Throughout the film, Rusty lists several things he dislikes about Russ, each one ending with the same problem: "He doesn't have a dog!"
  • The Atoner: In the present, Russ' dad tries desperately anything possible to bond again with his son. He internally regrets taking his fear out on him 32 years earlier.
  • Big Eater: Rusty is both this and a Sweet Tooth, much to Russ' annoyance.
  • Blue Oni, Red Oni: An interesting example where the present and past version of the same character fulfill this trope. Russ is the cold and aloof Blue Oni, while Rusty is the excitable and outgoing Red Oni.
  • Boxing Lesson: In an effort to toughen himself against bullies, Russ gets his boxer friend to teach Rusty. After the boxer learns it's for bullies he says "He doesn't need boxing, he needs to learn street fighting."
  • Brick Joke: When Rusty sees a large orange moon, he becomes very excited and wonders what makes it turn that color. At the very end, right before the credits start rolling, a brief scientific explanation for this phenomenon pops up.
  • Bizarre Taste in Food: Near the ending, both Russ and Rusty can be seen dipping french fries in chocolate milkshake.
  • Character Tic: Russ's eye twitch. The result of his dad harshly telling him to stop crying, and then rubbing the tears off his eyes too hard when he won't stop crying.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Most of the characters have their moments, but Janet especially stands out.
  • Deceased Parents Are the Best: Russ's mother died when he was a kid, and by all accounts she was an angel in the house, while his father... wasn't. This is made clear when she pleads with her angsty husband not to scare Rusty, as he's had a hard day dealing with the bullies, but his father lets his fear get the better of him, as the doctor had advised his wife against leaving the house.
  • Demoted to Extra: Jeri Ryan originally had a supporting role in this film as one of Russ' clients, and there would have been a minor Romantic Plot Tumor later in the film involving her character, where she starts hitting on Russ, and making Amy jealous. In the final cut however, Ryan's role was obliterated completely, and now she only has a small cameo on Russ' television being interviewed.
  • Establishing Character Moment: Both Russ and Rusty get a few when we first meet them. This was probably done to show firsthand how different the two are.
    • Russ:
      • When we first meet Russ, he pays for the product of the woman in front of him, who can't find her credit card. However, he only does it because he's in a hurry, and then he has the nerve to tell her (rather rudely) to be more organized.
      • When he's talking to a weeping governess, he tells her to stop crying, but only because she's giving him a headache.
    • Rusty:
      • The first time we actually meet Rusty (after Russ spent a few scenes chasing him), he's watching cartoons and pigging out on popcorn. He tells Russ that he was only after his model airplane... and then he saw the popcorn.
  • Everyone Can See It: Russ and Amy.
  • Faint in Shock: Amy when she realizes Russ and Rusty are the same ("I wish I was standing on a carpet.").
  • Fat Idiot: Rusty, at least to Russ' view.
  • Formerly Fat: Russ was chubby as a kid but is in fairly good shape as an adult.
  • Future Me Scares Me: Rusty is very disappointed by what Russ has become.
  • Greater-Scope Paragon: Throughout the film, a red biplane keeps appearing, usually right before something happens that causes Russ to reevaluate his life, implying whoever's flying it is controlling everything that's been going on since his 8-year-old self suddenly appeared. The pilot turns out to be Russ himself...from thirty years in the future, who's finally achieved his dream of becoming a pilot, owns a Golden Retriever named Chester and has come back to get his two younger selves back on a better path.
  • Help Yourself in the Future:
    • Seems to be why Rusty is there. Then it turns out that they're both being helped by Russ from thirty years in the future.
    • Like his psychiatrist said, Russ is having these "hallucinations" for a reason.
  • I Hate Past Me: Russ can't stand Rusty's presence because it reminds him of things he doesn't want to remember.
    Russ: Doesn't the fact that I'm a pathetic dweeb make you despise me?
    Amy: No. Why? Do you despise you?
  • It's All About Me: Russ' constant concerns about his clients' relapses are clearly aimed more at how they will affect his own image than theirs.
  • Jacob Marley Warning: Inverted as the Marley is actually the main character.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Russ, eventually.
  • Kick the Dog: The bullies plan to burn Tripod (a three-legged dog) alive, because they consider him worthless and a "freak".
  • Like an Old Married Couple: Amy's and Russ's frequent bickering is more reminiscent of a married couple than mere coworkers.
  • Love Epiphany: When Russ realizes he's been paying a lot more attention to Amy than he realized.
  • Manic Pixie Dream Girl: Amy has the personality and the dynamic with Russ, but the trope is subverted in that Russ staunchly resists all her attempts to bring out "the kid" in him, and almost drives her away forever when she finally has enough of his excessively assholish attitude. Ultimately, Russ has to deal with his own emotional issues (via Rusty) and become open to love and life on his own before they can be together.
  • Married in the Future: Russ and Amy.
  • Never Trust a Trailer: The page quote is yelled like a tantrum in the trailer (and without the 'jets' part), but in the movie itself it's spoken in a disappointed tone (and without the 'get this straight' part).
  • No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: Rusty got into trouble for beating up the bullies to save Tripod from getting burned alive. Russ and Rusty have no idea why; the bullies most likely ratted on Rusty as payback. Not only is Rusty hauled into the principal's office for fighting; but once he gets home, his father, quite cruelly, lets Rusty know that his mother is dying and accuses the boys of trying to kill her faster with the stunt he pulled. Plus, the bullies will continue to harass him until college.
  • Obsessed with Food: Rusty, much to his older self's annoyance.
  • Our Time Travel Is Different: It...never actually says how it happens. Old Russ just seems to will it.
  • Parents as People: Russ's father verbally abused his son so harshly that it ended up emotionally crippling him well into his adult years. However, it's revealed that his father was struggling to cope with his wife's terminal illness and lashed out at Russ out of fear of being reminded of how little time his wife had left. In the present, he clearly regrets how he treated his son and wants to reconnect with him.
  • Pet the Dog: After a barrage of criticism, Russ tells his seatmate not to get rid of her Southern accent as everyone was telling her to do.
  • Playground Song: At one point Rusty keeps singing "John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt".
  • Precocious Crush: Rusty for Amy. Played with in that he wants her to get together with Russ, his future self, who is closer to her age.
  • Pursue the Dream Job: "We grow up to be pilots!"
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Russ gets many from the people he knows about his cold demeanor, but the one that really hits home is the one Amy gives him when she discovers he secretly retrieved a pie-throwing tape he supposedly threw away.
  • Running Gag: Russ and Rusty keep having to go to the bathroom at the same time.
  • Sassy Secretary: Janet.
  • Shout-Out: Russ first encounters Rusty watching the then-recent Ed, Edd n Eddy on his TV.
  • She Is Not My Girlfriend: Russ in regards to Amy. No one is fooled.
  • Temporal Duplication: The main character is visited by himself as a little kid, and later, they both meet their even older selves.
  • Used to Be a Sweet Kid: Russ was once a kind, sweet-natured kid but a combination of bad experiences such as losing his mother to cancer and his career made him a jaded, cynical adult.
    Russ: Look at him. It's so embarrassing.
    Amy: You're not embarrassing. You're adorable. (He looks at her.) ...Then. You're adorable then.
  • We Used to Be Friends: Rusty had a best friend named Tim Wheaton until he started hanging out with a group of bullies.

"What happens next between being me and becoming you?"