'Star Kid' is kid stuff

January 17, 1998|By Martin F. Kohn | Martin F. Kohn,KNIGHT-RIDDER NEWS SERVICE

They got the title half right: There is a kid, but there's no star in "Star Kid." The action takes place on Earth, and you've seen it all before, just not in the same movie.

It's a formula as familiar as the alphabet: Timid youngster whose mother is dead and whose father works too hard becomes the target of a playground bully until he teams up with a lovable visitor from outer space to (A) regain his self-esteem, (B) remind his dad of what's really important and (C) save the universe.

Did we mention how (D) they wreck the house?

Our story begins far away, on the peaceful Planet of the Ugly Little Buggers, which has been attacked by invaders from the warlike Planet of the Even Uglier, Slightly Bigger Buggers. The Ugly Little Buggers launch a secret weapon into space.

And this secret weapon, a personable robot, lands in a junkyard where our 12-year-old hero, Spencer Griffith (Joseph Mazzello, "Jurassic Park," Meryl Streep's son in "The River Wild"), finds him.

He turns out to be hollow -- what they call your Cyborsuit up on the Planet of the ULBs -- designed to function best when a person stands inside him. The boy obliges.

With that, they are off, albeit clumsily, to wreak revenge on the bully, have some fun at a fair, jump impossibly high and learn from each other.

'Star Kid'

Starring Joseph Mazzello

Directed by Manny Coto

Released by Trimark

Rated PG (comic-book violence, mild profanity, bathroom humor)

Sun score: *

Pub Date: 1/17/98

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