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MOVIE REVIEW:Dennis the Menace
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I am ecstatic to see the low rating this gets. While it is no
masterpiece by any means, it doesn't deserve to be as under-appreciated
and undervalued as it is. Oh shucks, it's not that bad!
I believe part of the reason that justifies this poor rating is because
most films adapted from comic strips or TV shows (both cartoonish and
live-action) are simply deplorable. I can't stand those movies myself,
except this one, which is a rare exception of a good movie adaption
from a comic strip and an even rarer exception of a better film than
the comic strips and respective cartoonish TV show it is based.
The cast is generally clever. Robert Stanton *is* literally the human
clone of Henry Mitchell. Lea Thompson does a great and pretty Alice
Mitchell. Walter Matthau makes a perfect Mr. Wilson (he is the
definitive Mr. Wilson) and Joan Plowright is no less good as Mrs.
Wilson. But little Mason Gamble is the star, making the best and most
charming Dennis Mitchell you could wish for.
The only bad thing about this film is Cristopher Lloyd's character, the
thief. The character is not even likable in first place. He looks
repulsive, and even frightening for more nervous children. Remember,
this is a movie for kids and family! The character is also disturbing
on his intentions (in 2 scenes he attempts to stab Dennis). He simply
does not suit in the otherwise jaunty nature of it.
Dennis is greatly annoying in the comic strips and respective animated
TV show, but here he is a sweetheart. First of all, he looks nothing at
all like the animated character: an incredibly cute kid with the face
of an angel yet, behind his innocent look, hides a big little
scoundrel. In the good sense, of course. He does many mistakes, but
there's no malice on him. The things he does are accidental and he
gasps whenever he realizes what he does, he doesn't mean to annoy or
harm anybody. He is very loving to everyone. And he is so funny!
Hank Johnston, the cute tiny child who portrays Gunther, has a minor
role that should have been bigger. He says almost nothing but he
manages to be hilarious simply for his expressions.
Walter Matthau is, of course, the biggest "victim" of Dennis's
"entrapments". Being the cranky old guy he is, he has a really hard
time with Dennis, but Dennis just adores him. I can understand that the
kid gets on his nerves. To be around that child must get on one's
nerves to a point, but Dennis is adorable. Mr. Wilson is not a bad
person, he is just a grumpy old man, although I dislike some of his
There are really many moments of pure classic humor to the point of
being prone to cause some very good laughters.
Title in Portugal: 'Dennis, o Pimentinha'.|||
This is the film adaptation of Hank Ketcham's comic strip of the same
title. In most cases, film adaptations of comic strips or TV shows
simply suck, but with this one not only they did a pretty good job but
also made something much better than what it's based on.
Dennis is much more likable in this film than in the cartoons. But,
before saying more on this, let me say that the cast was very well
thought and selected. The actor chosen to portray Dennis's father, for
example, looks exactly like the character from the comic strip. It's as
if he was the human version of that character. And he is very well on
Pretty Lea Thompson does well as Dennis's mother, in a much better role
than "Lorraine" from 'Back to the Future' trilogy. Hank Johnston is
excellent as Gunther Beckman. Walter Matthau… well, they couldn't
have chosen a better Mr. Wilson than him! Joan Plowright is just as
good as Mrs. Wilson and Mason Gamble steals the show as Dennis
Mason Gamble is unbelievably cute. The title suggests that Dennis is a
menace. To a point he is, but without meaning to. Dennis is absolutely
adorable, loving, sweet, very nice to everyone and innocent. He does
many mistakes and often annoys people (particularly the cranky Mr.
Wilson), but he doesn't do for bad. He isn't a mean-spirited child,
unlike the sadistic kid from those stupid 'Problem Child' movies. Plus,
Dennis is really funny and at times so dramatic that he becomes even
The character Margaret Wade is simply annoying. No wonder that Dennis
and his friend Joey dislike to be with her. I mean, with a girl like
that, can you blame them? Another character I have no sympathy for is
Andrea, co-worker of Dennis's mother. What Dennis does to her at the
end (even though innocently) is deserved, seriously. Mrs. Wilson is a
very nice old lady and she's very good to Dennis – she actually treats
him as a son (or a grandson).
Walter Matthau is, like I said, the best Mr. Wilson ever. And his
facial expressions are priceless! He's hilarious, even though he is a
grumpy old man, sometimes highly apathetic. For example, the part when
he says to Gunther «Gunther, I'm just talking to your daddy on the
telephone. He's going to the ice cream store. He wants to take you with
him. Hurry up and go home!»… that's kinda mean of him. Imagine the
disappointment of the kid when he gets home. But even meaner than that
is when he says (despicably) that Gunther is a foot short for his age
and cross-eyed. Plus, later in the movie he says some very nasty things
Devin Ratray ("Buzz" from the first 2 'Home Alone' films) has a minor
role as Mickey, the boyfriend of Polly (one of Dennis's babysitters).
Christopher Lloyd stars as Switchblade Sam, a bandit, but he isn't a
likable character. He's filthy, mean and looks sinister, maybe too much
sinister, does not fit well in the general nature of this comedy/family
Hank Johnston's role as Gunther is minor. Too bad, really. I wish he
had a bigger role in the film. Yet it is surprising how, despite his
minor role, very brief appearances and almost no dialogs, he manages to
be hilarious. Gunther is, just as much as Dennis, unbelievably cute,
sweet, loving, innocent and completely adorable. Yet there is something
about him that makes him funny. Maybe it's his facial expressions which
are innocent and hilarious at the same time – and his crossed-eyes also
make him funny, as well as when he says "a apple" instead of "an apple"
and when he waves goodbye to the burglar in the end.
There are many hilarious moments and lines in the movie. Classic humor,
the kind of humor that can cause you some good laughters. There's
plenty of them I could mention, but then I wouldn't finish writing
This should definitely be on Top 250.|||
I grew up watching this movie as a kid on VHS and when it wore out I
just had to get the special edition DVD I love this movie. I think they
did a really great casting job on all of the characters especially the
then 6 year old Mason gamble he was so great as dennis. And they
couldn't have picked a better actor than Walter mathau to play the
grumpy but lovable mr. Wilson. Joan plowright was really cool and funny
as the nice mrs. Wilson I love that poem that she reads to Dennis and
lea thompson and robert Stanton were equally funny as dennis's parents.
and of course my favorite character switchblade sam was wonderfully
played by Christopher lloyd and I am one of the few that felt he
belonged in the movie and I think the movie would have been boring
without him. I give this movie 9/10. One thing I did not like was Mr.
Wilson yelling at Dennis but other than that I love this movie.
I saw this movie in seventh grade on a free day in school, when I heard
that we were watching it, I had heard that it did not do to well, but
then I decided to just watch it. And then we did, I recalled that I was
laughing so hard, no sound came out! I am telling you, I was laughing
my head off when I saw this, this movie is hysterical, it has got
really big laughs, it is totally a slap-happy time, you must see this,
you will be laughing yourself silly! I was totally surprised about
seeing this movie, I thought that it was not going to be very good, but
I was wrong, I was laughing so hard that I was almost crying! Why did I
like this movie, because it is just plain funny, that's why! There is
usually a time where a movie based on a TV show isn't good, but I was
surprised with this, I totally had a really good time!
The gags in this movie are all very hysterical, they are typical in a
usual slapstick comedy movie, there are gags which usually involve
people getting hurt! But I was really surprised, it is not one of the
funniest movies that I have ever seen, the funniest is Duck Soup, but
this is one of the funniest that I have seen in a few years, I believe
that you should see this, you will be laughing like crazy! Go ahead and
think I am crazy if I liked this movie, but it is just fabulous!
One more thing, I don't know why I really thought that this movie was
funny, but I was really enjoying it when I watched it. I just that that
is was totally funny, its one of the funniest movies that I have seen
in a couple of years, but it is not the funniest movie that I have ever
seen. But all the same, the movie is hysterical, you really must see
this, you will be laughing out loud at it!
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