Rated: PG-13 Reviewed by: Frank Release date: April 2, 1993 Released by: Twentieth Century Fox
Jack Leary (Robert J. Steinmiller, Jr., "Bingo") tells the story from the 1974 novel by Dan McCall of the inner bear he must conquer and the evil monster on the outside he must avoid.
Steinmiller's performance is strong and powerful. Danny DeVito as the father is equally effective as a thirty-something-year-old who continues to flash back to the relaxed freedom of the sixties. The younger brother Dylan is played by Miko Hughes (Kindergarten Cop).
The inner monsters, as Jack defines them, are the urges within people to be violent toward others. He finds himself violent when a neighbor allows young Dylan to be taken by an unstable militant neighbor. The neighbor, who hates blacks and Jews, is the evil monster on the outside.
Set on a unique street in Northern California, Jack enjoys his first kiss, his friends and joking with his father, who plays a late night horror show host. The family works even though the mother was killed in an accident the year before. The street, which is torn up for repair, is a symbol of the turmoil in the family's life. The monster across the street, the father's drinking, the uncompromising grandfather, and the unsettled inner anger combine to bring danger to Jack, both real and imagined.
There is joy in watching Steinmiller perform; he has depth far beyond what might be expected of a young actor. DeVito ranges from cuddly to the edge of violence as the pain of the mothers death and the danger across the street climax. This is a well-made film but the dangers the children are forced to face remove it from the family film category. Go see this one, but don't bring the kinds.
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