There’s no such thing as a bad child, according to pop psychologists, only bad parents. Does that mean there’s no such thing as a bad film, simply bad filmmakers? Perhaps. After all, Problem Child isn’t really a bad film. The casting is on target and the acting professional, but a more nurturing director could have added a few surprises to the predictable plot and elevated the movie’s humor a bit higher than endless toilet jokes.
Junior (Michael Oliver), a cute but, let’s say, ”mischievous” little guy, seems destined to become a lifer at the orphanage. (Oliver is not quite another Macaulay Culkin, but he’s a natural on camera.) The kid has already been returned by would-be adoptive parents 30 times, for feeding detergent to a cat, flinging his stew on the ceiling, bulldozing a trailer. But after sufficiently torturing his latest family (John Ritter and Amy Yasbeck), he discovers that his new dad loves him no matter what, and he repents. It’s a formulaic but sweet and welcome ending to a movie that certainly has its sour spots.