114 user 15 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.


Dennis Dugan
4,085 ( 279)
1 nomination. See more awards »




Cast overview, first billed only:
John Ritter ... Ben
Jack Warden ... Big Ben
Michael Oliver ... Junior
Gilbert Gottfried ... Mr. Peabody
Amy Yasbeck ... Flo
Michael Richards ... Martin Beck
Peter Jurasik ... Roy
Charlotte Akin Charlotte Akin ... Lorraine
Anna Marie Allred Anna Marie Allred ... Kid #3
Adam Anderly Adam Anderly ... Catcher
Robert A. Anderson Robert A. Anderson ... Boy in Chair
Cody Beard Cody Beard ... 2nd Baseman
Jordan Burton Jordan Burton ... Kid #1
Eli Cummins Eli Cummins ... Umpire
John S. Davies ... Paramedic


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


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


Comedy | Family


PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »

Did You Know?


The only actor to appear in all three films and the short-lived cartoon series was Gilbert Gottfried. Jack Warden appeared in all three films, but not the cartoon. See more »


When Junior crashes the car into the glass enclosure, while Ben is on the roof of the car, it's obvious that John Ritter has been switched out for a dummy, as evidenced by the stillness of the body, as the hundreds of tennis balls crash down on him. See more »


Lucy Henderson: I'm having a birthday party Saturday. I think it would be nice if you came.
See more »

Alternate Versions

The version that airs on the Hub network is based on the USA Network version that has the "bonus footage" added in the movie, but makes several additional edits. Amongst these are: Big Ben's reference to the "Japs" and the "Hirohito Corporation" are removed, and Big Ben's comments to Little Ben about artificial insemination are edited somewhat (though the line about taking his sperm to someone who knows what to do with it is still intact). See more »


It's My Party
Written by Wally Gold, John Gluck (as John Gluck Jr.), Herbert Weiner and Seymour Gottlieb (uncredited)
Performed by Lesley Gore (as Leslie Gore)
Courtesy of PolyGram Special Projects, a division of PolyGram Records, Inc.
See more »

User Reviews

Bad to the Bone
10 June 2017 | by stormhawk2020See all my reviews

To be a film with a smart and naughty boy annoying the elders (shot in 1990, the same year as "Home Alone" by Chris Columbus), is an authentic gem, based on the iconic pedigree of some of those involved in the film: John Ritter ("Three's Company", among many other good and funny comedies), Michael Richards (Jerry Seinfeld's beloved and disinterested neighbor and unfortunate in his later film career, it is said that because of "Seinfeld's curse", already That neither Julia Louis-Dreyfus nor Jason Alexander did any important work afterwards) as the histrionic and evil psychopath and the always magnificent Jack Warden, leaving to the end what, in my opinion, the most important and powerful: the powerful beginning with the "Bad to the bone" (the same one that sounds when Arnold Schwarzenegger removes the glasses to the rude biker and leaves in the Harley in Terminator 2), every time that Junior does one of his own. Fun, entertaining and absolutely recommended.

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Frequently Asked Questions

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Release Date:

27 July 1990 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Problem Child See more »


Box Office


$10,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$10,026,900, 29 July 1990

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


| (Extended Version)

Sound Mix:

Dolby SR



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

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