The Kid & I

When people hear the name Tom Arnold, good things do not exactly come to mind. He is a funny guy, but not that great of an actor. Worse, he tends to pick some really bad films. Aside from a surprisingly good performance in Happy Endings, he usually trolls around in films like Soul Plane, Cradle 2 the Grave, Hansel & Gretel, and Exit Wounds. The Kid & I is based on actual events. Arnold wrote the screenplay, and plays Bill Williams, a washed up actor who once starred with Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jamie Lee Curtis in True Lies. In other words, it loosely based on his life. He met a kid with cerebral palsy who wanted to be an action star. His favorite film was True Lies, and he wanted Arnold to help make a film.

The Kid & I is about Williams' attempts to make this movie. It is a lame comedy with a heart that doesn't always shine through. This is one of those films with good intentions, but not the greatest execution. It's not a good film, and not a bad one, just one that is almost too strange to explain. Director Penelope Spheeris (We Sold Our Souls to Rock n' Roll, Senseless) makes a cameo as herself, directing Williams' film. Shaquille O'Neal, and two other big names make cameos. Some actors play roles, others play themselves. There are two feel good stories here, one about Aaron Roman (Eric Gores) fulfilling his dream to make a movie. The other feels a bit more calculated, and is about Williams redeeming himself as a person. The beginning of The Kid & I finds Williams ready to commit suicide. He takes the job only because it comes with a ridiculously large paycheck. As he comes to know Roman, he begins to want to make the film not for money, but for Roman.

Roman's father (Joe Mantegna, Nine Lives, Uncle Nino) and stepmother (Shannon Elizabeth, Cursed, Johnson Family Vacation) want to give Roman this movie as a present for his birthday. Roman wants to cobble together a film with every single action movie cliche. His ultimate dream is to kiss a woman in a hot tub, and for that woman he wants Arielle Kebbel (played appropriately by Arielle Kebbel, Dirty Deeds, Be Cool). Williams knows he is writing an awful movie, and gathers together a like-minded group of people (they only want money) to help him through it, including a bum (Richard Edson, Starsky & Hutch, Sunshine State) that is his personal assistant.

This movie is almost a self-fulfilling prophecy. Watching people make this bad movie is not a very pleasant experience. Yes, it is for a good cause, but when the plot wanders towards Williams' redemption, it feels a bit callous, like Arnold is giving himself more screen time than Gores. The acting is very broad. Spheeris and Henry Winkler (Holes, Down to You) are pretty awful to watch. Everybody else is better, but nobody is great. Arnold is very self-deprecating, but the humor he puts into his script is a bit too lowbrow. He shows some promise, but needs a lot of polish.

Mongoose Rates It: Not That Good.
1 hour, 33 minutes, Rated PG-13 for some crude language, crude humor, and drug references.

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