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This is a fantasy for kids, though it's not quite clean enough for kids. I think the version I saw had been cleaned up for TV, but still not enough to satisfy some parents. So let's say it's a fantasy for older kids.
Never in real life would parents have given in and stayed in the basement like that, though most of the time they were plotting to get out. What keeps this movie from being completely formula is that at times, the parents seemed content with their situation and tried to live with it. Some characters were just silly, but others had some substance. Jamie Lee Curtis gave her usual good performance and at times went beyond just the angry parent who wants out. And she was willing to humiliate herself for our enjoyment, as were many of the cast members involved in hilarious pratfalls and bizarre situations.
Even the kids weren't always just what one might expect. Our hero Greg had regrets about doing this to his parents. I think it was T.J. who started as the bully but ended up as so much more. There were a couple of scenes I could have done without, because it would have been better just to keep this movie light and funny. I won't say what happened, although this development gave the movie somewhat more substance.
Jennifer Love Hewitt was so cute back then, and she showed potential here. Jennifer Tilly was also quite adorable, driving her poor daughter crazy by trying to be just like her.
Ray Walston wasn't necessarily at his best as the crazy neighbor, but only people such as this would have allowed the kids to get away with what they did, since he couldn't be taken seriously. Or did the kids get away with it? I won't say.
Even Patrika Darbo was here! How many times have I seen her in the past month? Though I don't even remember her performance here now.
Some good music, but most of the music wasn't my taste.
It wasn't a bad movie but just could have done more.
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