DENNIS THE MENACE
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.
Dennis the Menace