In this dark comedy, a mischievous ten-year-old boy named Clifford is sent to his Uncle Martin's for the weekend to get out of his father's hair. It turns out he has a dying obsession to go to Dinosaur World, a theme park near Martin's house and nothing will get in his way to get there. Written by
ann dee <email@example.com>
The writers, Will Aldis and Steven Kampmann were so ashamed of the finished product that they used pseudonyms for their credits, Jay Dee Rock and Bobby von Hayes, respectively. See more »
Towards the beginning of the movie, Father Clifford is standing in front of a brick wall when Roger jumps from a window and lands on Clifford. Clifford goes down, but the camera does not move. Right before Clifford and Roger get up, the shadows on the brick wall instantly shift, revealing that scene was edited together from multiple takes. See more »
Oh Uncle Martin, I am so glad you're here. I got on the train to run away, but a person tried to touch my no-no special place! And when I got back, there were bikers here. And they tied me up, Uncle Martin, and then they told me stories that they do on their bikes. Some of them were fun but some of them were scary!
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The only reason I watched this whole thing through was it just had to get better at some point. It HAD to! There was just too much talent on the screen for this mess to keep stumbling along at low speed. Martin Short stars as the title character who is apparently a ten year old boy. At least he is supposed to be. Anyway, he is truly a monster. He plays a series of cruel practical jokes on his uncle played by Charles Grodin. Grodin has agreed to watch the little brat for whatever reason I don't quite recall. He hopes that taking care of the little tyke will impress Mary Steenburgen whom he is intending to marry. Grodin is basically one of those long-term bachelors (like yours truly) who waited until practically middle age to settle down. Hopefully bonding with the young man will show his lady that he is in fact a good catch.
The first time you look at Martin Short, and accept the premise that he is in fact a little boy, you begin to expect to laugh. But the filmmakers must have thought the premise was enough, since they just don't give Clifford and his uncle enough funny things to do. Most of the pranks are cruel, and a few are admittedly funny. The only real laughs I had were watching Grodin's reactions to some of the pranks. He was a really talented guy, but it looks like he mostly retired after this came out. Hard to blame him. There is a stupid subplot involving Dabney Coleman trying to win Steenburgen over and eventually almost trying to rape her in the back of a limo. Ha ha. The film has a cheap look to it, and its no surprise to learn it was actually filmed in 1990. This was during a bleak period of American cinema when even some of the better films were just lazily made. The climax of this film takes place at a Dinosaur themed amusement park that looks incredibly cheap and mostly made with cardboard and matte paintings. The musical score is a generic up-beat, by-the-numbers deal that sounds like something Danny Elfman would have wadded up and thrown in the garbage in a fit of despair.
The stars of this film deserved something better, and I have no doubt that better writers and a better director could have had something here. But as it stands, Clifford is an unfunny, mean-spirited mess. And a big waste of talent. 3 of 10 stars.
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