House Arrest

Bomb Rating: 

There oughta be a law. It's time for the federal government to step in and declare it a felony to produce children's movies that are more than ninetyminutes long. In fact, when they screen the damn things for the studio executives they ought to have the Jeopardy song running for exactly an hour-and-a-half. After that, whether the film is finished or not, the projector shuts down, the lights go on and some people come in with pizza and beer for the audience -- and a noose for the guy who made the movie. At ninety minutes, I don't care if the screen's showing the climax, the conclusion or the credits -- if that thing isn't completely over the director hangs himself and the preview guests get to pour beer over his warm corpse.

In defense of the producers of "House Arrest," their film has a good heart; only instead of putting that heart in the right place they opt for all over the place, splattering unwitting audience members with blood and warm goo. It would seem that someone got a story idea about kids locking their divorcing parents in a basement, then the Prozac really kicked in, and the last eighty pages were left to the chimpanzees.

Consequently, Grover Beindorf (Kyle Howard) and his sister, Stacy (Amy Sakasitz), lock their parents (Jamie Lee Curtis, Kevin Pollack) in the basement to work out their problems. When their schoolmates get wind of the idea, other parents are thrown in the dungeon and the kids have a party. Then the audience is treated to an hour and fifteen minutes of people making faces at each other and acting stupid.

At the very least, "House Arrest" ought to get Pat Buchanan and the rest of the right wing to stop crying about the liberal bias in Hollywood. The film reeks of "family values" influence. The message? Divorce in our country would be less of a problem if squabbling parents would just sit down and talk things out. Never mind that Dad tried to run Mom down with a lawnmower in the middle of a shopping mall or that Mom hired a hit man to off Pa so she could run away with the butcher who was "slipping her a tube steak" on a regular basis. "Family values" never met a problem it couldn't solve with swift criminalization and imprisonment.

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