5.3/10
23,260
97 user 10 critic

Problem Child (1990)

PG | | Comedy, Family | 27 July 1990 (USA)
A young boy is just short of a monster. He is adopted by a loving man and his wacky wife. The laughs keep coming as the boy pushes them to the limits.

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1 nomination. See more awards »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Roy
Charlotte Akin ...
Anna Marie Allred ...
Kid #3
Adam Anderly ...
Robert A. Anderson ...
Cody Beard ...
Jordan Burton ...
Kid #1
Eli Cummins ...
...
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Storyline

The story of a seven-year-old mischievous orphan boy named Junior. He is hardly a model child; mean-spirited and incorrigible. One day, he is adopted by a loving man along with his obnoxious wife named Ben Healy and Flo Healy. Ever since Junior comes into their lives, he turns ordinary days into full-scale comic nightmares! He also leaves a path of serious destruction in his wake, and is even pen pals with Martin Beck (A.K.A. The Bow Tie Killer, a notorious serial killer who kidnaps his faithful correspondent, along with Flo). And now it's up to Ben as he undertakes a rescue mission to get Junior back from Beck before he plans on hurting him. Written by Anthony Pereyra {hypersonic91@yahoo.com}

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

He's So Bad, Even The Nuns Refused To Keep Him! See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Family

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

27 July 1990 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Adorable criatura  »

Box Office

Budget:

$10,000,000 (estimated)

Gross:

$53,470,900 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (Extended Version)

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

During a 2014 interview on Gilbert Gottfried's Amazing Colossal Podcast, screenwriters Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski revealed that the story was inspired by the 1988 LA Times article "An Adopted Boy--and Terror Begins" about a married couple suing an adoption agency after they were not informed that their adopted son had severe mental health issues with violent tendencies and had been previously returned to the agency multiple times. While other writers pitched the story as a horror film in the vein of The Bad Seed (1956) or The Omen (1976), Alexander and Karaszewski thought it had potential as a comedy, envisioning a dark, adult satire of the then-popular trend in films where cute kids teach cynical adults how to love, as seen in Baby Boom (1987), Parenthood (1989) (directly spoofed by the film's poster), Look Who's Talking (1989), Uncle Buck (1989), Mr. Mom (1983), Kindergarten Cop (1990) and 3 Men and a Baby (1987). However, the studio insisted upon turning it into a children's film, a conversion which necessitated numerous reshoots and rewrites, leading to a difficult production that left all involved disappointed and anticipating that it would bomb. The film defied these expectations, becoming a surprise hit and Universal's most profitable film of 1990 but was still so embarrassing for Alexander and Karaszewski (Alexander even cried after the cast and crew screening) that the two tried to distance themselves from the film in its immediate aftermath which proved difficult. Studios were initially reluctant to hire them or take them seriously based on their work on such a prominent disreputable film but, in later years, they would eventually come to work with executives who were young children when during the film's initial release, grew up watching its frequent TV airings and were excited to be meeting "the guys who wrote Problem Child." Looking back, they still feel the film is "a mess," but take some pride in being involved with one of the "very few [PG-rated] children's films THAT black and THAT crazy" (citing the scene where Flo commits adultery with an escaped serial killer while her husband is catatonic and contemplating murdering his seven-year-old son in the next room as an example) adding "and it's funny." See more »

Goofs

As the car is entering the store through the front glass there is a shot with a reflection of the car. Rigging can be seen on the vehicle, and it looks to be a different type of vehicle all together than what we see in the next shot. See more »

Quotes

[after he broke several milk bottles]
Junior: I love the smell of spilled milk in the morning. It smells like victory.
See more »

Connections

Followed by Problem Child 3: Junior in Love (1995) See more »

Soundtracks

BAD TO THE BONE
Written and Performed by George Thorogood
Courtesy of Capitol Records
By Arrangement with CEMA Special Markets
See more »

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User Reviews

there is nothing wrong with this movie
10 April 2002 | by (new orleans) – See all my reviews

many people complain that junior gets away with everything and it is not right. if these kinds of things were going on by a real kid in real life, then there would be a problem. i have only four words for those of you who claim it should not be watched due to the example it sets for children. IT IS A MOVIE, not to mention a COMEDY, which are usually not to be taken seriously. if every movie that set a bad example for children was pulled off the shelves, we would have lost many incredible movies. i saw this movie when i was a child, and no i did not go try to do any of the things that junior did. although i was a child, i knew there would be serious consequences for acting as junior did. this is a very entertaining movie which i enjoyed very much. for those of you who who trash talk this movie because "it could be a bad example for children" you might want to get in touch with reality because there is nothing wrong with this movie.


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