Just You and Me, Kid (1979)
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The setup? Brooke Shields plays Kate, a teenage runaway with a "vicious" drug dealer on her tail (this is a PG movie, so he's not too vicious). He recruits her to make a pickup for him, but instead she runs off with his money; he bursts into her apartment while she's locked in the bathroom, and she escapes through the bathroom window wrapped only in a towel, which she loses in her flight. She winds up in a grocery store parking lot, where she hides in the trunk of George Burns's car. Stuck with the fact that he's got a naked teenage girl in his vehicle, he has no choice but to give her shelter. Despite Brooke's initial stubbornness, the expected warmhearted relationship develops and some convoluted hi-jinks play out as Burns tries to hide Brooke in his house without anybody catching on. A pair of nosy yuppies next door, as well as Burns's overly concerned daughter, threaten to expose the secret and blow Kate's cover.
George Burns is just being himself, so if you enjoy him anywhere else, you'll probably enjoy him here. The other actors in the movie have a little trouble playing off him. Brooke Shields is clearly not a juvenile delinquent; she's way too pretty for that, and we never really see her doing anything bad on screen. She has the impossible job of trying to seem as if she'd be mixed up with a sleazy drug dealer, yet appealing enough to make the audience identify with her. Lorraine Gary is also here in another impossible role, this one as George's daughter, frustrated with Burns's odd ways and seemingly anxious to have him declared senile.
A few sequences really work, like a funny bit when Burns has a bunch of his friends over for a card game, and they have to hide Kate from the police and Burns's daughter. Never mind the idea of a group of elderly men hiding a teenage girl from the police. The illogical ways the plot unfolds actually provide a lot of this movie's weird charm, sometimes nothing makes sense. For instance, Burns (in an obvious nod to Gracie) has a deceased wife who used to be part of his vaudeville act, but he also has a male companion who has been institutionalized--and at one point Brooke razzes him for being gay (actually her term is "a fag"; why is it that certain types of hateful slurs are seen as commonplace in films?). Part of the movie's intended emotional payoff comes from Burns and his friend being reunited, and of course Brooke will need a home and a way to stay "in the family", so Burns recruits his hypersensitive daughter to--get this--ADOPT Brooke, whom she never even meets on-screen!
Despite this strangeness, the film is a harmless comedy that will bring a few smiles, especially for fans of George Burns. His endless string of one-liners should satisfy any fan of his dry humor.
I love George Burns doing his lovable old performer character. Brooke Shields was a good child star who develops great chemistry with the old-timer. I don't know why she has to be naked or pretend to be naked in almost movie. The biggest problem is the weirdly dangerous clunky drug story in between the funny bits. The tone is all over the place. The movie is definitely trying to be funny but the drug story is so cheesy dark that it screws the movie up.
You've got to love George Burns. You just have to. There's no reason not to. To me his quips, even though I understood the humor when this movie hit the theatre, is more endearing and funnier now with more punch than when I first saw the film.
That, and the humor is clean without being childish. It's smart without having to be high-minded. The script is witty and Burns' performance is on the money for a man of his caliber or character.
And there's Brooke, who, unlike her later roles, actually does a pretty decent job of portraying the wayward teen. Brooke knows this girl's character and is given fairly decent direction as to how to portray her.
If I had one complaint it's that dialogue, at times, seems a little too mature for Booke's character, but that's more of a fault of the old guard Hollywood screenwriters who channel themselves through the characters they pen.
Veteran stars come in to play support roles making for a very likable hour and a half light comedy. The plot driving the story forward is a little hard, but socially responsible films function to show the pitfalls of possible criminal behavior, and how innocents (and not so innocent) get caught up in nefarious doings. As such we have a light tone for what could have been a hard look at teenage delinquency.
George Burns and Brooke Shields actually have a pretty good chemistry here, almost that one wishes they had done a few more films together.
Either way, the film is now out on DVD thanks to SONY and Columbia Pictures archives. Grab a copy and watch it on a lazy weekend afternoon.
Now in all seriousness, this is a brilliant work, with an icon of the previous generation working with someone who would later become an icon of the next, in a light and breezy but very likable and coherent plot of a comedy. Two people with absurd individuals around them finding common ground, but his was supposed to be a bomb?? This film was made for an audience that had not matured yet, and now it is being seen by many as the classic it is.
No one will accuse this flick of being a great movie but it's an entertaining hour and a half or so of understated humor about an unlikely friendship. I like the way Burns' character takes everything in good stride and manages to turn the tables on everyone who thinks he's half way to senile, including neighbors, the cops and daughter Shirley (Lorraine Gray). The icing on the cake occurs when the picture offers up the 'no shirts gang' - four veteran character actors of a bygone era who stage a levitation with young Kate (Shields) as their prop to evade the police.
You can tell the picture was made a good number of years before political correctness set in, as Shields' character feigns distress that Bill Grant might be gay. But you can't fault a picture that cloaks it's entertainment in mirrors and drapes and offers valuable life lessons like 'good enough is never good enough', 'memories don't belong in drawers', and 'you can't walk away from yourself'. Oh, and can't forget - 'they flew well but landed poorly'. I threw that last one in there because it sounded cool. You'll have to see the picture for the context.
Bill Grant (George Burns) is an old vaudeville performer still dining- out on memories of glory-days-which-never-quite-were. He lives alone in a large house, and sticks to a series of tried-and-trusted daily routines which infuriate his daughter Shirl (Lorraine Gary) and son-in- law Harris (Nicholas Coaster). One of Bill's many daily duties is to visit his old friend Max (Burl Ives), wasting away in vegetative silence in a home for the elderly. One day, Bill discovers a naked teenager named Kate (Brooke Shields) hiding in the trunk of his car. He takes her home and, bit by bit, pieces together that she is an orphan from a troubled background who has wound up working for small-time drug-pusher Demesta (William Russ). After stealing a small fortune from him, Kate is now on the run. An unlikely friendship forms between the lonely old man and the endangered young kid, but there's many a misunderstanding to overcome (not least being the suspicions of Bill's neighbours that he is some sort of dirty old, pervert keeping the girl against her will) before everything is resolved.
The film has an air of staginess about it, with much of the action taking place at the single location of Burns' house. Occasional scenes are based elsewhere, but other than that one could easily imagine this being sourced from a stage play (which, surprisingly enough, it isn't). Burns is very much the focal character – he has the best lines, the most interesting back-story, and the most natural charm of the main characters. Shields bounces off him nicely, even if her character is often less than likable. By the two-thirds point, the story has pretty much run its course and things limp rather blandly to a predictable and totally 'pat' conclusion, but during its early stages the film is easy- going fun.
There's nothing in Just You And Me, Kid to compel you to watch it but neither is there any reason to deliberately avoid it. Best summed up as harmless fluff.
I caught this in a theater back in 1979. I was only 16 and (back then) liked almost anything. I saw it solely because of Burns (Shields was still fairly unknown--this was pre "Blue Lagoon"). I though it might be light and innocuous. It WAS both of those things but it was also boring, pointless and full of some of the worst jokes and most contrived situations I've ever seen. Aside from a glimpse of Brooke's (or her doubles) nude butt and a few minor profanities this is made for TV material--and I don't mean that in a good way! Burns tries his best to put over his terrible lines but he can't. Shields is young and appealing--but this was before she learned how to act. This did nothing for either of their careers and sank without a trace. As other posters have said this was never on VHS or DVD. There's a reason for that! Bottom of the barrel. A 1.