Entertainment Weekly

Subscribe

Stay Connected

Subscribe

Advertise With Us

Learn More

Skip to content

Article

DENNIS THE MENACE

Posted on

Dennis the Menace

type:
Movie
Current Status:
In Season
mpaa:
PG
performer:
Mason Gamble, Walter Matthau, Christopher Lloyd, Joan Plowright, Lea Thompson
director:
Nick Castle
distributor:
Warner Bros.
author:
John Hughes
genre:
Comedy, Kids and Family

We gave it a D

It’s derived from the Hank Ketcham comic strip, but the mixture of peppy sadism and pious, self-righteous sentiment comes straight from John Hughes’ crabbed cinematic heart. Mason Gamble lacks the lookit-me smugness that marred Macaulay Culkin’s performance in ”Home Alone 2,” and Walter Matthau is a marvelous, beetle-browed Mr. Wilson. But when Dennis starts aping ”Home Alone,” the complacent kiddie brutality gets taken to a whole new low. Christopher Lloyd makes like ”Twin Peaks”’ Killer Bob as a psychotic tramp with a switchblade — he’s a homeless guy presented as Evil Incarnate. And somehow the laughs just don’t come when you watch a happy little blond tyke cover him with welts and set him on fire.