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After getting blamed for spoiling Christmas, the richest kid in the world wishes he'd never been born. Unfortunately, a wishing machine, invented by professor Keenbean, picked up the wish ... See full summary »
The richest kid in the world, Richie Rich, has everything he wants, except companionship. While representing his father at a factory opening, he sees some kids playing baseball across the street. Richie wants to join in, but they don't want him around. When a plot to kill the Rich family is devised by Rich Industries' top executive, Laurence Van Dough, Richie must take over control of the company while searching for his lost parents with the help of some new friends.Written by
Mark J. Popp <email@example.com>
He has charisma; for everything else, there's Mastercard
Richie Rich stars the charismatic, easily-lovable Macaulay Culkin in a role that basically begged for him from the first day of pre-production. Unfortunately, nothing else begged much attention in terms of how Richie Rich conducts itself as a piece of family entertainment. Is it serviceable? Absolutely. Just prepare for a rather long and tedious ninety-four minutes. Kids will appreciate it, seeing their favorite hero from Home Alone getting into more hairy little circumstances, but the true victims, the parents, will likely be contemplating better things they could be doing with their time.
Make no mistake; I was enjoying Richie Rich for about forty-five minutes on a simply, passable level. Then at the hour mark, I grew restless, and by the finale, I was shaking my head at the missed opportunity the film could've capitalized on. I'll come back to this later. The story is inspired from the comic-book character who made quite the name for himself in books and strips that I never found myself reading. He is played by Macaulay Culkin, who was born to Richard and Regina Rich (Edward Herrmann and Christine Ebersole), a couple worth a dollar over $70 billion thanks to their immensely successful Rich Industries. The three live in a house that appears to be sitting two full-size golf courses, and embrace their wealthy status in the way of philanthropy, and not personal narcissism.
While Richie enjoys living a lavish life, traveling in helicopters, playing basketball in doors, and carrying thousand-dollar bills in his wallet, he greatly envies the lives of regular, middle-class children, who have very little priorities and can spend their days playing baseball in an open sandlot.
With this kind of setup, you'd think the film would be on the track of setting up a "lonely rich boy" sort of moral, emphasizing that all the money in the world can't buy true, wholesome companionship, right? Well, just as we're about to further dive into that, a pesky plot point involving corruption, attempted-murder, and industry takeover begins to plague the Rich family, and with rumor that his parents are dead after a nice pack of TNT was on their private plane, Richie assumes the role as the CEO of the company. But just as we're about to go further into that detail, we focus on one of Richard Rich's employees, who tried to murder the couple and their kid to take over Rich Industries for himself. Not if Richie and his loyal butler Herbert Cadbury (Jonathan Hyde) can help it, though.
Right off the bat, we just passed up two solid directions this film could've taken instead of the contrived, foreseeable one it settled on. Yet if there's one thing that can't be overlooked about this film, it's the abundance of character-actors, who all do a capable job of doing what they can with what they have - especially Macaulay Culkin. Culkin's gifted, easy-going performance makes one sad that this was his last "big" film as a child actor, before landing roles in several under-performing independent films before fading into tabloid obscurity.
Co-writer of Richie Rich Neil Tolkin worked on License to Drive, a potent, lively comedy about a teen and his two friends going out after hours in his grandfather's Cadillac even after failing his driver's test. After that, he settled for very little doing both Richie Rich and the atrocious Pauly Shore comedy Jury Duty a year later. When glancing through director Donald Petrie's filmography, it appears that he has made a career out of making spur-of-the-moment comedies that usually do fairly well at the box office before becoming safe-bets on cable. He has a formula and he should stick to it. It's just sort of upsetting that Richie Rich aspires to be functional, rather than successful.
Starring: Macaulay Culkin, Edward Herrmann, Christine Ebersole, Jonathan Hyde, and John Larroquette. Directed by: Donald Petrie.
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