Problem Child (1990) Poster


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Brainless, Unpleasant Characters, but also Very Funny
Claudio Carvalho11 October 2015
The seven-year-old orphan Junior (Michael Oliver) has been rejected thirty times by his foster parents since he was a baby because he is wicked. He worships the criminal Martin Beck (Michael Richards) and wears a a bow tie just like his idol. Ben (John Ritter) is a good affectionate man that dreams on being a father. However his flashy wife Flo (Amy Yasbeck) is infertile and he convinces her to adopt a child. The couple is lured by Mr. Peabody (Gilbert Gottfried) that manages an orphanage and they adopt the little devil Junior. When Ben's father Big Ben (Jack Warden) meets the boy, he immediately tells that Junior is evil. Soon Ben learns that his father is correct; will he call off the adoption?

"Problem Child" is a brainless film with unpleasant characters. Ben and the psychologist are dorks; Junior and Martin Beck are mean; Big Ben is selfish and Flo is ambitious and unfaithful. The situations are politically incorrect bu also very funny. If the viewer shutdown his or her brain, he or she will find a hilarious movie and laugh a lot. The best scene is the interview of the psychologist with the psychopath criminal. My vote is five.

Title (Brazil): "O Pestinha" ("The Little Devil")
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Really refreshing!
Mark Nowiasz7 May 2003
I really enjoyed this film - which was truly different.

To be honest, I'm absolutely fed up with portrays of children (especially in commercials and family movies). Children are always portrayed as so cuuuuuuute and nice - actually, I'm worried about getting tooth decay because of the sweetness involved.

Problem Child is just different - the child is a complete evil brat which causes havoc during the whole movie.

Basically, the film concentrates on showing the evil side of children - and yes, people, there is a cruelty in children. Do you remember your own childhood? The bully who loved to harass weaker children? How about children treat outsiders, like fat/ugly peers? What about kids torturing animals like flies or frogs?

Sure - this comedy is far of and unrealistic, but so are cuuuuuuute and sweet family movies.

So - I quite like the movie, it's a black comedy which is a nice counterpoint to sweet & cute comedies like Home Alone.

7 / 10
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This Is Funny
Theo Robertson12 September 2004
I'm not a fan of comedies but any movie that starts with a scene of school children writing to their penpals with the following dialogue :

" Dear Queen Elizabeth . How is England ? "

" Dear Bishop Tutu . How are you ? "

" Dear bow tie serial killer . I have all your newspaper articles "

has something going for it , and the best thing about PROBLEM CHILD is the amount of very bad taste comedy . It's almost like a Farrelly Brothers comedy ( THERE'S SOMETHING ABOUT MARY , KINGPIN etc ) in both feel and execution . Okay so it's a goofy movie , okay some of the acting is poor , and okay you can see some of the jokes coming a mile away ( Oh a bear costume . I bet a real bear will turn up within the next five minutes ) but I watched it on TV one wet Sunday afternoon and had a few laughs

I can't help thinking that the poor response from many forum members might be down to the fact that this was marketed as a " family comedy " . I can just imagine many parents renting this from the video store , taking it home and watching it with their cherubs only to find it features attacks on religion and family pets . I reckon Joe Stalin would have enjoyed this movie as much as I did
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there is nothing wrong with this movie
sltrauth10 April 2002
many people complain that junior gets away with everything and it is not right. if these kinds of things were going on by a real kid in real life, then there would be a problem. i have only four words for those of you who claim it should not be watched due to the example it sets for children. IT IS A MOVIE, not to mention a COMEDY, which are usually not to be taken seriously. if every movie that set a bad example for children was pulled off the shelves, we would have lost many incredible movies. i saw this movie when i was a child, and no i did not go try to do any of the things that junior did. although i was a child, i knew there would be serious consequences for acting as junior did. this is a very entertaining movie which i enjoyed very much. for those of you who who trash talk this movie because "it could be a bad example for children" you might want to get in touch with reality because there is nothing wrong with this movie.
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Funny...even if you don't want to admit it.
gridoon15 October 2002
This movie is undeniably tasteless, and toward the end it runs out of steam (one car chase too many).'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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This film has its problems but personally I don't think it is that bad
TheLittleSongbird22 April 2010
I was expecting to really hate this film, but after seeing it, it wasn't that bad. Yes it was mediocre and crude at times, but absolutely awful, no. There are much worse movies out there, and I will probably be here all night listing them and why they are so bad. I'll drop a few hints, Friedberg-Seltzer movies, Home Alone 4, Cat in the Hat, NeverEnding Story 3 and Superbabies:Baby Geniuses 2 ring a bell? Anyway, the script does have its weak spots, the ending could have been better, Michael Oliver as the truly dysfunctional kid is thoroughly obnoxious at times and the plot is a touch simplistic. That said, it has its good moments, the gags are crude but some of them are amusing, John Ritter is charming in the title role and Gilbert Gottfried is hilarious. The soundtrack ain't half bad either, Amy Yasbeck is effective at playing her character like a total snob,Jack Warden is great and the film is nice to look at. Overall, could have been better but it could have been a hell of a lot worse as well. 6/10 Bethany Cox
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This movie is awesome!
Quint7522 February 2002
One of the best comedic films of the 90s. I don't understand why so many people thought it was so terrible. Yes, i know Junior could be a little annoying sometimes, but that is his role and he will be greatly remembered for it. As for the rest of the cast, i thought everyone did a great job, especially Jack Warden. He may have been the funniest character in the movie. anyways, you have to watch the movie repeatedly to understand and comprehend its hilarious outcome.
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Another Childhood Favorite!!!
Pumpkin_Man11 January 2009
Ever since I saw this on TV when I was little, I've loved this movie! I love the the plot and direction of this movie and thought everyone was cast perfectly. Junior is a mean-spirited kid that nobody wants. When Ben and Florence Healy consider adopting a kid, Mr. Peabody persuades them to take Junior. Soon after, havoc ensues. My favorite scene is at the birthday party when he throws presents in the pool, puts exploding candles on the cake, and puts pickles in the piñata. Everybody in Ben Healy's life starts hating Junior, but Ben doesn't want to give up, until Junior drives the family car into Ben's dad's store. When a psychopathic killer escapes, he kidnaps Junior and Florence, but at first, Ben doesn't care, until he finds out that the entire time, Junior liked him. Ben saves Junior and tries to stop the bad guy! I highly recommend PROBLEM CHILD!!!
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One of the funniest movies!
Movie Nuttball4 April 2003
The Problem child movies are very funny!John Ritter,Amy Yasbec,and Jack Warden,and Michael Richards are all good in the film!It is always sad to to see the great late wrestler Kerry Von Erich.The film has some of the more hilarious scenes ever!.If you like comedy film with bratty kids then check this out!
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It's a shame that this movie has been marketed as a "family comedy." The writers definitely don't know what it's like to be a bad kid. (* out of * * * *)
Frank Rizzo6 September 2005
People who actually liked Problem Child (1990) need to have their heads examined. Who would take the idea of watching a malevolent little boy wreak havoc on others and deem it funny? The movie is not funny, ever, in any way, beginning to end. It wants to be a cartoon, but the writers don't realize that slapstick isn't funny when people get attacked by bears, or hit with baseball bats. It may be funny in cartoons, but not in a motion picture.

The film's young hero is Junior (Michael Oliver) who, since he was a baby, has been placed at the front doors of foster parents for adoption. The families reject him, because Junior tends to give them a hard time.

He is then thrown into an orphanage, where he terrorizes the nuns, and writes pen pal letters to the convicted Bow-Tie Killer (Michael Richards). He is soon adopted by Ben and Flo Healy (the late John Ritter and his wife, Amy Yasbeck), who are dying to have a child, in order to be just like every other parent in their neighborhood.

Junior becomes a member of the Healy household, and "Little" Ben takes an interest in him, despite the fact that he destroys a camping trip by luring a bear onto the site, or throws a cat at his father "Big" Ben (Jack Warden), a bigoted politician.

I think that we're supposed to care for Junior so that we can root for him when he gets his revenge on people. His new mother, Flo, is a bitch, his grandfather is completely selfish, and one little girl--who despises adopted kids--is such a spoiled brat.

But what Junior does to get the last laughs isn't funny- -it's mean, cruel, and sometimes life-threatening.

And what is the film's message? That kids should resolve problems with violence and vandalism? That they should seek friendship by writing to convicted killers? They definitely don't what it's like to be a bad kid. Junior isn't a one--he's just a sadistic, little twerp. There used to be a time when it was bad for kids to beat up others. Now, everybody's laughing when Junior beats up kids with a baseball bat.

It's a shame that this movie has been marketed as a "family comedy." What's worse is that Problem Child is rated PG. What was the MPAA thinking when they saw this? There's a lot of profanity and mean-spirited pranks here, that one may wonder about the dividing between the PG and the PG-13.

Kids will enjoy this, but parents will be shocked at what is being depicted on screen. And to most people, Problem Child will be considered a "guilty pleasure" classic; a film that someone will shamefacedly admit to liking, even though the prevailing opinion, as put forth by more serious viewers, is that the movie is a piece of crap.
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sooo funny!
DorsiaRes5 February 2000
i guess i am one of the few people that find this movie hilarious, i watch it every time it's on tv, i rent it.. etc. i have no idea why people seem to be so offended by it, you must be some mean grandparents or something. it's just a MOVIE and it's not supposed to be taken so seriously..
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A boy goes from house to house then an orphanage until he is adopted and turns their lives upside down
hakyhiqz31 January 2006
I think this film is really funny it's not bad i gave it a ten. I think i been watching this one for nearly 16 years it's great. I think it's the only film i saw Michael Oliver in though apart from problem child 2. It's good it shows you what orphans go to and how he is brainwashed into being like a criminal. His mom hates him, but the love from his father is good it shows how patient he is with him and how the boy relates to him, because i feel the bond between them to when i watch the film. He rescues him, it's good at the end when the criminal gets caught. There are some great scenes that are funny, but some real sad ones that people treat orphans like they aren't human beings or something. Except i love the way the film come through that just because so many people hate you there is still someone out there who loves you, but i still think Junior could have been a good boy, but he was manipulated into being like that criminal.
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Strange comedy
jhaggardjr6 May 2001
"Problem Child" is one of the goofiest movies ever made. It's not the worst (though some people will disagree with me on that), but it's not the best either. It's about a devilish 7-year-old boy who wrecks comic havoc on a childless couple (John Ritter, Amy Yasbeck) who foolishly adopts him. This film is too silly and unbelievable because I don't buy for one second that a child could act as unrurly as the kid does in this film. It's asinine and preposterous although I did laugh several times throughout (I really don't know why). But I can't recommend this film. I know I'm being too kind to it. If there is one positive thing about "Problem Child" is that it's better than the sequel which was just awful.

** (out of four)
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Problem Child
Chris8 July 2013
Problem Child was a funny and hilarious film. This was one of the best funny family films of all time. Michael Oliver did excellent playing as Junior. John Ritter and the whole cast did excellent as well. This movie is fun film for all families to watch, the problem child series is a all- time favorite.

A recommendation for all of those who love comedy family films. This one is must watch. A funny adventure film of the 90's.

Some people thought this film was terrible, but they were wrong. Problem Child is the best and beyond the funniest family film. Michael Oliver did great as Junior and shined through he was crazy LMAO yet funny throughout the series. Awesome flick!
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This kid is dangerous, but the film is awesome!!
gdrossen3 September 2002
Problem Child is hysterical. Honestly, this is one of the funniest movies I have ever seen. No, it isn't high art, but it isn't meant to be. It is just a screamingly funny diversion that deserves a helluva lot of praise. Fun for the whole family, though with an occasional off-color (but always funny) line. See this flick.
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Dennis The Menance and Bart Simpsom rolled into one!
"Problem Child" is definitely one of the most hilarious movies I have ever seen. Here you have Junior(Michael Oliver), a scheming trouble-maker who loves mischief, and can't stand everyone around him. Been a problem since he was born. The orphanage won't have him different parents give him back, he is terrible! Only "Little Ben" Healy(John Ritter, 1948-2003) takes the time and heart to love him. His wife Flo(Amy Yasbeck, Ritter's real-life wife) totally resents him. At a young girls party, he really crashed it. At a baseball game, he was a threat to his team and the opponents. El ca bonging, and clubbing the opponents, and he slides on home with the bat at the catcher. Then he meets his idol, Martin Beck(Micheal Richards) who didn't live up to Junior's while. So when he shot "Little Ben", Junior open up to him. So he loses his wife, and gained a son, How does that make you feel. A great movie, very funny. A bit crude in some parts but it's handles out well. 3 out of 5 stars!
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Amazing piece of film.
Misfit711 March 2002
If you haven't seen this movie, I suggest that you do soon. It's marvelous. Michael Oliver is magnificent as Junior. John Ritter is charming as usual playing juniors dad. I think every person in the world should see this movie.
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read below
mr_niceguy606 January 2006
Are you guys kidding me? anyone that says this movie is bad is wrong, I happen to find this as one of my favorite movies I think there is a strong moral message in it, not only that but this movie is easily one of the funniest movies I have ever seen I mean maybe it does have bad acting I can't tell, but it still has a good message in it and there are some really funny parts in it. This and bad Santa are two of my favorite movies they both have good morals and both I can watch over and over just because of the hilarious scenes in them. In my opinion you should see this movie and if you didn't like it at least you will have gave it a try and if you don't like this kind of humor then oh well.
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Movies cannot and will never get any worse than this
face67 September 1998
From start to finish this bald attempt to cash in on the cheeky little boy attraction of once irresistible Macauly Culkin scrabbles vainly around in the bottom of the barrel of children's entertainment, and manages one singular achievement: to not create a single moment that can produce any reaction other than cringing. Mindless children's fun is all very well, but this film goes far beyond mindless into the realms spirit destruction. Pages and pages of the strongest expletives known to man would not even begin to allow me to express what I feel about this film, so I had better stop here. If you haven't seen it, choose a pineapple enema over it, if you have, then get help, you need it.
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Very Funny
Liakot Ali12 June 2006
Problem Child is one hell of a funny movie. It is a low budget movie that did not do so well in the box office. In some ways, the movie is annoying because if a Kid acts like that, he should he disciplined in a Major Way. That does not stop the movie from being ever so funny. Packed with lots of fun and jokes, This movie does Entertain. There are Three Installments of Problem Child. The First is the Best, The Second has the same actors but is a disaster. The third was the worst with different actors playing the parts. Out of all the actors, Jack Warden was very funny as the typical American Granddad. Overall, this is a worth watching movie, and may appeal to a hand full of audience.
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Quick Reviews!!
malkane3161 February 2005
Warning: Spoilers
In 1990 we were blessed with one of the greatest comedies of all time. Problem Child came along just before the more sophisticated Home Alone, and blew all competition out of the way. The film has great gags, brilliant acting from everyone, and a witty dark side which few directors can properly show. Unfortunately, most people see it as juvenile, and it has become one of the most hated movies ever. However, it will always be one of my all-time favourites, and even though i first saw it when i was 7 or so and can see why it is so despised, i still find it hilarious.

Junior is an orphan. Abandoned by his parents, he did the rounds at various homes, never staying at one place for too long because he never fit in, or rather- he was as one character says- 'wicked'. Junior finds himself at a Convent school where he soon starts trouble. The Administrator, Peabody sees that the Nuns want to get rid of him, and when he hears that a husband and wife who can't have kids are looking for a child to adopt, he cons them into taking Junior with them. Everyone's happy. However, the family soon realise that Junior is no angel, and want to get rid of him, but Ben Healy his adopted father sees that he is just a lonely kid who keeps getting shoved around. When Junior's hero- a murderer gets out of prison he comes to visit, kidnapping Junior and Flo Healy, Ben comes to the rescue.

The film has too many funny moments to mention- the opening montage with Junior growing up, the scenes with the nuns, the camping trip, the baseball game, and even small things like- 'Look a giraffe!'- 'Look a fist!' make this film a comedy which deserves so much more respect than it will ever get. The dark side, the violence are neatly balanced by the fact that Junior just wants to be loved, and the film can be seen as an effective satire on the whole adoption process as well as a comment on modern parenting. Riiter is perfect as the father, warden is brilliant as old fashioned Big Ben, Yasbek is good as the annoying Flo, and Oliver puts in a stunning performance, stealing every scene he is in. Unfortunately he seems to have disappeared from the spotlight when it so dearly needs him. For all round laughs they do not come much better, and every kid should see this. When you grow up though, don't hate it just because it seems childish and amateurish, love it as it should be loved. 10 out of 10
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Soooooooo Funny
Calfry8911 October 2003
This movie is really funny,it is about a 7 year old boy who is a problem child, if no one likes him, leave him and get some one with less problems. He gets adopted by a stupid lady and a kiddy man who treats him like a 4 year old, alot of people hate this film, I don't know why. Big Ben =main weirdo.The party scene was an average scene.Junior played baseball, he got kidnapped by smiley pie fan Martin Beck, a fugitive who escaped minutes before baseball, he ( Beck) would wear disgises when a cop is near him. On the movie, he has escaped twice from jail, in the beginning of the movie, there were nuns, weird nuns, these nuns party when Junior leaves the orphanage. I give this movie 8/10
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An Excellent Movie
Icemanc0724 February 2003
I was looking for a video in the local movie store and just could not find one so I convinced my little brother to get this one so I could get my playstation game ;-). I heard him laughing a mile a minute in the other room. I love the movie and how they made it, the party scene was kinda gay though. I loved the smiley pie in 15 years scene where Kramer walks into the gas station and spits out the smileyu pie. And i also liked the little western tune they through in. Its a good movie and very funny. Big Ben serves a larges helping of laughs too. 9/10
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And it was followed by a sequel!
cmt-228 November 1998
I have to admit I've caught this one a few times on the USA Network. There's just something about the, well, sheer stupidity of this flick which makes me want to watch it whenever it's on. Yes, you're right about the sub-par acting, the plot which only an seven year old could like, etc. But I can't help feeling sympathetic toward some of the actors. Then again, a few of these actors signed up for the even more atrocious sequel.
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