'First Kid' has moments, but it's been done hTC

August 30, 1996|By Beth Pinsker | Beth Pinsker,DALLAS MORNING NEWS

If you remember "The Toy," the 1982 film with Richard Pryor baby-sitting a poor little rich boy whose father ignored him, then you might think you don't have to bother with "First Kid." It just moves the action to the White House and blatantly rips off a comedy that wasn't so great in the first place.

But that earlier film was just a remake of a 1976 French film, "Le Jouet," and this latest attempt may surprise you because it works better than its American ancestor.

Sinbad takes Pryor's role, and instead of playing the caretaker as a loser, Sinbad's too cool for school (especially for the snooty prep school he attends with his charge). He's Sam Simms, a Secret Service agent trying to get off field duty to guard the president, but he repeatedly gets himself in trouble by flouting the tough rules of his organization.

As punishment, he's assigned to protect the prez's wily son, the most powerful brat in the world. Much of the first act is taken up explaining Sinbad's employment travails, and that's a maudlin time-waster.

The good stuff starts when Simms and Luke Davenport (Brock Pierce of "The Mighty Ducks") get down to business in the White House. Pierce comes across realistically as a vulnerable teen -- not too cute, not too pouty.

This poor 13-year-old boy can't go out like a regular kid because he's held hostage by his parents' ambitions. So, of course, Simms has to sneak the kid out and teach him how to grow up.

In the process of deceiving one of the world's elite security forces, they learn to trust each other (or, at least, Luke learns to trust Simms). And they have a lot of fun. Roller-skating, dancing, boxing and walking the dog become great adventures.

'First Kid'

Starring Sinbad and Brock Pierce

Directed by David Mickey Evans

Released by Walt Disney

Rated PG (mild violence) **

Pub Date: 8/30/96

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