5.3/10
23,591
98 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.

Director:

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ON DISC
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 | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Attila the Hun. Ivan the Terrible. Al Capone. They were all seven once. 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

During the "I wonder if he's got change for a 20" scene, Junior has far more money in his drawer than he took from Big Ben's wallet. See more »

Quotes

Junior: Hey, Martin! Let's go see the bearded lady.
Martin: No, I've seen too many of them in prison.
See more »

Connections

Features Boys Town (1938) See more »

Soundtracks

REAL WILD CHILD
Written by Johnny O'Keefe, Johnny Greenan and Dave Owen (as Dave Owens)
Performed by Iggy Pop
Courtesy of A&M Records
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Funny...even if you don't want to admit it.
15 October 2002 | by See all my reviews

This movie is undeniably tasteless, and toward the end it runs out of steam (one car chase too many). BUT...it's often funny, and that has always been the essential mission of a comedy. By the way, this is NOT primarily a kids' film; kids may get a few laughs out of it, but the more subversive asides ("Maybe if you keep moving your hands like that people will think you actually know what you're talking about") are really intended more for adults. (**)


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