Actors: Martin Short, Charles Grodin
|Review Summary and Plot Commentary about Clifford|
|In this comedy a mischevious ten year old boy named Clifford (Martin Short) is sent to his uncle Martin's (Charles Grodin) for the weekend to get out of his father's (Richard Kind) hair.
It turns out Clifford has anobsession to go to "Dinosaur World", a theme park near Martin's house and nothing will get in his way to get there.
There's a big difference between being childlike and childish but the makers of "Clifford" apparently haven't figured that out.
The movie "Clifford" is a rip-off of "Problem Child," and was actually shot shortly after the two "Problem Child" movies became surprise hits as spoofs of "The Bad Seed."
Originally conceived for a child actor, "Clifford" became a vehicle for Martin Short, who agreed to play the 10-year-old title character when the filmmakers discovered they couldn't get Macaulay Culkin or Elijah Wood. This "brilliant" piece of casting undermines whatever germ of humor might have otherwise surfaced in this misguided effort.
More like an idiot adult masquerading as a child, Short mugs, twitches and generally acts as if he's still doing a skit on "Saturday Night Live" or "SCTV." But this is a 90-minute skit, and it quickly wears out its welcome. (See the Dean Martin & Jerry Lewis comedy "You're Never Too Young," in which Lewis plays an adult pretending to be a 12-year-old boy, and you may discover Short's inspiration for his portrayal of this character.)
The story begins with Clifford as an adult, an aging priest in the year 2050, lecturing a young boy in a home for wayward youths. The bulk of the film is shown in flashback, as Clifford tells the lad a story of his own childhood, focusing on an unscheduled visit with his Uncle Martin (Charles Grodin).
It seems that Clifford is traveling to Hawaii with his parents on a business trip, but because he wants to go to Dinosaur World in Los Angeles, he forces the plane to make an emergency landing.
Martin agrees to watch Clifford for a week while his parents continue on to Hawaii, not because he loves his nephew but because he wants to impress his girlfriend, Sarah (Mary Steenburgen).
As you might expect, Clifford spends the week terrorizing his uncle, getting him arrested for a phony bomb threat, spoiling the anniversary party of Sarah's parents, tricking Martin into taking a train to San Francisco, wrecking Martin's apartment with a wild party and eventually getting Martin fired by destroying his life's work.
Martin gets revenge in the end by taking Clifford to Dinosaur World and forcing him to go on the T-rex ride over and over, eventually kicking it into hyper-speed. That's before the warm and fuzzy conclusion, of course.
"Clifford" is rated PG for profanity, vulgarity and violence.
--Tony Whitver, Resident Scholar
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|Analysis of Clifford|
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Ratings are on a 1-10 scale (Low to High)
Time/era of movie:
Kind of comedy
- adult acting like child
How much humor v. drama
- Mostly humor, but some serious drama
- a kid
- brunette (Brown)
- (man) short/standard straight
- (man) average
Events of movie makes character more...
- White (American)
How sensitive is this character?
- mean, arrogant
Sense of humor?
- Cynical sense of humor
- average physique
Secondary Main Character
- brunette (Brown)
- (man) average build
How much in movie?
- White (American)
Accounts of torture and death?
- generic/vague references to death/punishment
- Occasional swearing
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Note: the views expressed here are only those of the reviewer(s).