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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.

Director:

Dennis Dugan

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1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
John Ritter ... Benjamin 'Ben' Healy, Jr.
Jack Warden ... Benjamin 'Big Ben' Healy, Sr.
Michael Oliver ... Junior
Gilbert Gottfried ... Mr. Peabody
Amy Yasbeck ... Flo Healy
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
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Storyline

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

Taglines:

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

Genres:

Comedy | Family

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

27 July 1990 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Adorable criatura See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$10,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$10,026,900, 29 July 1990

Gross USA:

$53,470,891

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$72,270,891
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (Extended Version)

Sound Mix:

Dolby SR

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

During a 2014 interview on Gilbert Gottfried's Amazing Colossal Podcast, screenwriters Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski revealed that the story was inspired by the 1988 LA Times article "An Adopted Boy--and Terror Begins." The story is about a married couple suing an adoption agency because they were not informed that their adopted son had severe mental health issues with violent tendencies, and had been previously returned to the agency multiple times. While other writers pitched the story as a horror film in the vein of The Bad Seed (1956) or The Omen (1976), Alexander and Karaszewski thought it had potential as a comedy. They envisioned a dark, adult satire of the then-popular trend of films in which cute kids teach cynical adults how to love, as seen in Baby Boom (1987), Parenthood (1989) (directly spoofed by the film's poster), Look Who's Talking (1989), Uncle Buck (1989), Mr. Mom (1983), Kindergarten Cop (1990) and 3 Men and a Baby (1987). The studio insisted on turning it into a children's film, which meant numerous reshoots and rewrites. All involved in the difficult production were disappointed, and anticipated that it would bomb. Alexander cried after the cast and crew screening. The film was a surprise hit, and Universal's most profitable film of 1990. Alexander and Karaszewski were so embarrassed that they tried to distance themselves from the film in its immediate aftermath, which proved difficult. Studios were initially reluctant to hire them or take them seriously based on their work on such a prominent disreputable film. In later years, they eventually came to work with executives who grew up watching the film on TV airings and were excited to be meeting "the guys who wrote Problem Child." Looking back, they still feel the film is "a mess," but take some pride in being involved with one of the "very few [PG-rated] children's films THAT black and THAT crazy," adding "and it's funny." See more »

Goofs

When he falls off the trapeze, the Bow Tie Killer falls into a tiger cage that was not down there before. In fact, just mere seconds later, Junior slides down the rope below the trapeze poles, into his father's arms. See more »

Quotes

Little Ben Healy: Remember if we win, we all get ice cream!
See more »

Alternate Versions

When originally shown on network television, deleted scenes were added to pad out the running time and for content. The following is a list of said scenes. 1. When Ben and Flo get ready to go to church, their mean neighbor Mrs.Perkins tells them that their cat defecated in her tulips and orders Ben to clean it up. Though he objects to it, Flo reminds him that she doesn't want to be excluded from the social parties Mrs. Perkins throws. 2. Once at church, Ben confesses to the priest in the pulpit that he and Flo want to have a child, so the minister tells him that the St. Brutus Orphanage has an adoption service and has recommended him, but Ben tells him that Flo won't accept anyone else's child, causing the priest to disgustedly end their session. 3. An extended dialogue scene at Mr. Peabody's adoption office has him, Ben and Flo arguing about how their child should look. 4.A scene of Junior talking to the Mother Supirior as he is packing. 5. During Martin Beck's psychological examination (once the doctor has escorted the warden out of the room), he has a flashback about how he thinks.he was blamed for a crime that somebody else did and is shown in his prison cell listening to the chaplain's final words to him, as well as a guard giving Martin a yellow bow tie-shaped cake. He is then shown walking to the electric chair, but manages to force the warden into it. 6. A short dialogue scene has Roy and his family loading up their Jeep for the camping trip with Roy telling Ben to hurry up. 7. Ben goes out to the porch to tell Junior that he is laying down the law for his bad behavior until he notices a picture Junior painted consisting of Ben knocking out Roy with the frying pan. Junior protests that he is only pretending to be his friend and that no one cares about him but himself. Ben then reminds him that he's not alone anymore and that he has got a friend(Ben) to talk to. He then gets his foot caught in the paint-filled cake pan as Junior starts laughing hysterically. 8. A long sequence has Junior terrorizing the milkman and the paperboy with a remote-controlled airplane, with Ben ending up getting the brunt of the abuse. 9. After Ben looks at the picture Junior made for him, Martin calls Ben and tells him he has a half-hour to come up with $100,000 for the ransom, as a way to see Junior and Flo again, followed by Martin telling Junior he's not planning to hurt Ben once he arrives with the money. 10. When Ben races through the circus to deliver the ransom money. A little girl asks Mother Superior, who obviously took the children on a field trip there, if that was the man who adopted Junior. When the nun notices Ben pushing and knocking people out of the way, Mother Superior replies, "Darn,that kid works fast!" 11.A scene where the bearded lady tells Martin he called her his little kumquat. See more »

Connections

Spoofs The Shining (1980) See more »

Soundtracks

PROBLEM CHILD
(End Title Song)
Written and Produced by Terry Melcher
Performed by The Beach Boys
Single available on RCA Records, Cassettes and CDs
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
This Is Funny
12 September 2004 | by Theo RobertsonSee all my reviews

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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