[Screen It]


(1996) (Tom Arnold, David Paymer) (PG)

Blood/Gore Disrespectful/
Bad Attitude
Tense Scenes
None None Moderate Minor Moderate
Mild None None None Mild
Smoking Tense Family
Topics To
Talk About
Mild None Minor Minor Moderate

Comdey: A down and out carnival worker takes a man and his carpool of kids hostage.
Franklin Laszlo (TOM ARNOLD) is a down and out carnival employer who needs money to make ends meet. While waiting for a bank to open that he plans to rob, he happens upon the robbery of a grocery store. Stopping those thieves, he's mistaken for the main thief by the police, and in the spur of the moment grabs Daniel Miller (DAVID PAYMER) who just happens to be in the store, and takes him hostage. What he doesn't know is that Daniel is late for, and stressed out by an important meeting that has been compounded by the fact that he's had to drive the kids' carpool today. While Daniel gets more stressed, his kids Andrew and Buckey and the other kids Kayla, Travis and Chelsea grow to like Franklin's carefree and fun lifestyle. They all end up being chased by both the police and a militant meter maid (RHEA PERLMAN) through the city and into a suburban mall where Franklin learns that his family is more important than his work.
Younger kids will, buy anyone older than ten will probably bypass this one.
For crude humor, mild language and comic action.
  • TOM ARNOLD is a bad role model as he resorts to theft and then to kidnaping to make ends meet.
  • DAVID PAYMER plays the over worked dad who quits his job as an advertising exec. to help run a carnival after the kidnaping ordeal.
  • The KIDS aren't well developed characters, but pretty much play the stereotypical Hollywood notion of children.


    OUR TAKE: 0 out of 10
    This is one of the worst movies of all time. Avoid it at all costs. While your kids may find the wild antics funny, you will not. You will have the same shocked "I can't believe I'm here" expression that David Paymer does throughout the movie. He's probably wondering how he got involved in such a horrible film. Rhea Perlman (Carla in the TV show "Cheers") is absolutely wasted in a role as a militant meter maid. Beyond the fact that it's not funny and that Arnold (who we enjoyed as comic relief in "True Lies") is annoying as all get out, this movie sends the message to kids that kidnaping is funny and a fun time for those involved. If you go to this, don't blame us. We warned you. It gets a flat 0 out of 10.
    As stated above, this movie takes the series subject of kidnaping and child abduction and turns it into a lighthearted, "it's okay because it's fun" situation. Kids won't be scared of being kidnaped after this because it's presented in such an idiotic fashion that makes it look like an exciting field trip. Beyond that, there is the use of guns during robbery and kidnaping as well as some slapstick violence. While there isn't much to object to in other categories, we suggest you read through all of the listings before allowing your kids to see this one.

  • None.
  • None.
  • Obviously the thieves and Franklin have both as they break the law and show intent to harm others.
  • Andrew is stuck on an out of control Ferris wheel. Franklin manages to stop it while Daniel climbs up to get him. The Ferris wheel lurches forward and Andrew slides out of his car and dangles from the bottom of it. Daniel then saves and lowers Andrew down to Franklin and jumps to safety himself.
  • Handguns: Used by the thieves and by Franklin to rob or take people hostage. For details see "Violence."
  • Speargun: Used by the meter maid to impale the van and then to pull her along behind the van like she's water skiing, and to threaten another cop.
  • Kids are heard repeating "Are we there yet?" And "When are we going to get there?"
  • A carnival performer is seen putting a flaming check into his mouth.
  • Daniel notes Andrew's fly being down. When asked why it's that way, Daniel replies, "It's breezier."
  • Travis sticks gummy bears up his nose and then pulls them out and eats them.
  • Travis says that having hemorrhoids is like "walking around with a pipe up your butt."
  • Phrases: "Bite me," "Shut up," "Bastard," "Fart," "Idiot," "Sucker," and "Sucks."
  • Franklin drives through several stop lights and stop signs and generally drives like a mad man.
  • Travis says that he superglued his eyelids open so that he could stay up all night. Franklin then says that when he was young he put fireflies up his nose until his eyeballs lit up.
  • To camouflage the van, Franklin has the kids spray paint it with cans of hair coloring from a beauty salon.
  • There's one fart ("are you playing the butt trumpet") and one belching scene.
  • None.
  • None.
  • None.
  • 6 damns, 3 hells, and 3 uses of "For God's sake," and 1 use each of "Oh my God," "Oh God," "By God," "My God," and "For the love of God" as exclamations.
  • A kid asks his mom, "Why do you have to drive us in your bathrobe?" She replies "because the principal gets mad when I drive in the nude."
  • An older man, who's said to be forgetful, is seen outside doing yard work in only a shirt. His bare buttocks are seen.
  • One of the girls says that her mother just had a breast reduction and that they relocated her nipples. One of the boys asks, "Where?"
  • Bucky tries to look down a teenage girl's shirt and she catches him doing that.
  • As Franklin has trouble beginning to urinate, Daniel tells him to think about baseball. Franklin replies, "No, that's for sex."
  • A quick scene from a TV soap opera has a woman saying "Now I find you in bed with my mother."
  • The teenage girl complains about where Buckey touched her. He claims that he put his hand on her shoulder to reassure her. She says "That wasn't my shoulder."
  • None.
  • Franklin states that he has a twelve-year-old boy whom he doesn't see much due to the fact that he lives with his mother.
  • Several carnival people are seen, including the dog faced boy and the bearded woman that kids may ask about.
  • Why anyone thought it would be a good idea to make this film.
  • Travis shoots a slingshot and hits Daniel in the face.
  • Two thieves try to rob a gourmet grocery with their guns. An older lady pulls out her gun and holds it on one of the thieves whose partner then points his gun at her. She drops her gun and then the thieves hold their guns on the clerk. Franklin then pulls his gun on one of the thieves, the old lady grabs hers and then drops it again. It discharges and blows apart a coffee pot that Daniel was holding. When the police arrive, Franklin takes Daniel hostage.
  • A cop tells the older lady that he'll break her wrist if she doesn't give him her gun.
  • One of the thieves throws the cash register through the doors Franklin has jammed. It breaks through the glass and then shatters a car's windshield.
  • Two police cars crash into each other as they pursue the van.
  • A couple of the kids hit Franklin when he's first in the van.
  • The two thieves, hoping to find Franklin, break into his mother's house. She discovers them and then tosses them out through the door onto the steps.
  • More police cars crash into each other.
  • The meter maid drives down the sidewalk in her cart and smashes through many tables and chairs. Eventually her cart overturns and she falls to the sidewalk.
  • The main cop and the meter maid hold their gun and spear gun, respectively, on each other while Franklin escapes.
  • The meter maid fires her spear gun into the back of the van and finally ends up on top of the van where she's knocked off as she hits a banner in a shopping mall.
  • When Daniel learns that Franklin's gun is just a cigarette lighter, he tries to strangle him. The kids break them apart.
  • The two original thieves show up at the end and pull their guns on everyone. Franklin smashes one with a money bag, but the other aims his gun at him. Daniel then grabs a large mallet and smacks the other bad guy on the head, knocking him out. Franklin flips over the other guy and then kicks and hits him on the back.
  • A bunch of S.W.A.T. members are thrown from a Sizzler restaurant by Franklin's mother who's seen tearing the place up.

  • Reviewed August 23, 1996

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