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Scooter's father, Dr. Jeffrey Miller, is a successful plastic surgeon. Sterling is his son from his first marriage. Dr. Miller married Veronica, who had a daughter Tiffany, and they moved into the Beverly Hills mansion of Veronica's mother Lillian. Dr. Miller and Veronica had Scooter, who is treated like a second-class citizen by his brother and sister (both spoiled brats), and pretty much ignored by his parents. Dr. Miller is cheating with one of his patients, and Veronica is fooling around with Roberto, who is in charge of the family's cars.
Clive and Elmo like to bet on the horses, but they aren't having much luck. Clive decides to turn to crime, and that's where Scooter gets the idea that Clive should kidnap him and demand a ransom. THEN maybe his parents will care.
Scooter could have gotten his wish earlier if a couple of other bad guys hadn't missed a golden opportunity at the beginning of the movie. These guys continue to make trouble, and even though they tend to be comical, they are quite scary in a couple of scenes.
There are plenty of laughs here, many of them physical. That's not to say this is great. But Peter Billingsley and Burt Young are both quite good. Clive really isn't a bad guy, and he has a tender side.
One standout moment is a church service. It's never made clear if Elmo regularly attends, but everyone there is black except a couple of the movie's characters. The pastor of the church gives a fiery performance. And a gospel singer does quite well too. As they often say with secular music: The joint is jumping!
Natalie Schaefer was just about as good as when she was Mrs. Howell on "Gilligan's Island".
I liked the big, likable and dumb Asian butler, played by Richard Lee Sung with the stereotypical accent. He made numerous appearances in "M*A*S*H", and one I remember in particular was the episode where he was asked for identification and all he could do was smile and say, "This is me!" Same type of guy.
Now on to the negatives. Considering the fact that the day after I saw this, Martin Sheen appeared on NBC in the "West Wing" finale, I have to say this was not one of Sheen's better moments. And Sheen's son wasn't even as good as his father.
One joke fell flat here, though it might have worked if this were a movie in the style of "Airplane!" When the search for Scooter begins, someone points to a large painting of him and asks if that is Scooter. The answer is: no, that's a picture of him.
It's not great, but it's good for laughs if you like formula.
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