Making the Grades
Russ Duritz (Bruce Willis), who is about to turn forty, has an incredibly successful track record as an image consultant, even with his rude, obnoxious, and sometimes unethical approach to telling people how to fix what's wrong with them. But even Russ's confidence is shaken when he literally meets himself as a young boy just prior to his eighth birthday. Believing "the kid" is merely a hallucination, Russ seeks psychiatric help. But the kid doesn't go away, and when others can see the child too, Russ is forced to conclude that Rusty (Spencer Breslin) must have been sent for a reason.
Observing Rusty's pudgy body and timid personality, Russ decides to use his professional skills to make Rusty a new boy. But after Russ introduces Rusty to his secretary Janet (Lily Tomlin) and assistant/sometimes girlfriend Amy (Emily Mortimer), they cannot help but notice the differences between the sensitive boy and the cynical man he will become. Suddenly Russ feels vulnerable for the first time since... he was a kid.
But all of Russ's efforts only result in Rusty wanting to go back home to thirty years earlier. Figuring there still must be a reason for his visit, the two begin to ponder their childhood experiences, looking for the key moment that Rusty was sent to have Russ recall. Remembering a schoolyard fight that Rusty lost, the two find themselves back in the sixties about to relive the experience.
To keep children interested, this movie features an accidental punch to the crotch (when Russ tries to teach Rusty to defend himself), a flatulence remark, two mild sexual innuendoes, and a lack of consequences for actions -- like when Russ swallows four times his prescribed medication in a moment of desperation. But with the help of an adult, young viewers can learn that winning a fight doesn't result in being a better person, thanks to an enlightening twist at the end of this thoughtful movie.
Discussion Ideas After The Movie
Teaching ideas and topics to discuss about Disney’s The Kid.
How do our reactions to seemingly insignificant childhood events determine who we will become? How can a child’s perspective of major events (a death, illness, divorce, etc.) be different than an adult’s? How can talking about these feelings help both children and adults face these issues.