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First Kid
Starring Sinbad, Brock Pierce and Robert Guillame;
with Erin Williby, Zachery Ty Bryan and Timothy Busfeld
Directed by David Mickey Evans

It's a funny position I find myself in, reviewing a kidlet flick that tries to hard to have enough story in it to keep an adult interested. It's a fine line to walk between silly sappy stuff and a working story line and, for the most part First Kid toes the line.

I'm pretty sure about that, as I lugged my niece and nephew along with me to the movie theater.

The comedian Sinbad stars as Sam Simms, a Secret Service agent with style, -- meaning he wears ties that violate any dress code set by the Treasury Department. The neckties also change pattern and color from cut to cut within individual scenes early in the flick, a great way to teach the kids the mysteries of visual continuity <g>.

Luke Davenport, the President's only son (Brock Pierce), is a thirteen year old boy beset by all the emotional problems and insecurities that thirteen year old boys are beset with. It's all the more a problem here, 'cuz the kid never gets a second out of the public eye. His dad is never around. His mom is always off being First Lady, so Luke takes it all out on his local secret service guard (Timothy Busfeld). He does it so well, he gets the agent fired, which is where Simms comes in. From the kid's view, it's another grownup to torment. From Simms' perspective, it's the fast lane to guarding the top dog. Which means, of course, that the two will bond in ways only a scriptwriter can imagine. In this case, it is a reasonable imagination.

First Kid is, for the most part, an exercise in Sinbad goofiness (which I happen to like). It does a quick shift into reality at the end when the kid's life is put in jeopardy. Guns are pulled, bullets are fired -- any adult would have seen this telegraphed right at the beginning of the flick -- so there's no surprise here. I was concerned about the shift from comedy to violence, being the thirtysomething old fogey that I am, but the kidlets had no problem with it; the reason being a really cool special effect. I'm quoting the kidlet in front of me. Old fogey agrees with the kidlet.

As well, First Kid is filled with name-brand television actors, and I've written many times of how I like the work of actors that just want to entertain, and not make filmboy history. So, of note is the always fun Robert Guillame (Soap and Benson) as a senior Secret Service agent, and Home Improvement's Zachery Ty Bryan, as the pudgy tormenter of the First Kid, who will eventually get his. FK's first girl, Katie (Erin Williby) was judged cuuuute by the boy-kid behind me. Were I not wary of getting in trouble in 48 of the 50 States if I agreed with that assessment, I'd agree with that assessment.

Since Cranky goes out of his way *not* to rate kidflicks on the dollar scale, I'll use the reactions of my niece Sherri, 6, and nephew Jeffrey, almost 4. Sherri liked "all of it." Jeffrey liked "parts of it". If I had had kids when I was supposed to, there'd be the reaction of a 12 year old as well. But I didn't. Sorry, mom.

I don't think First Kid will appeal to the older teens, but there's no problem (if you're a parent) in taking the kidlets in and staying with them. First Kid will probably do even better when it hits the rental market.


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