Richie Rich review

Posted in Movie Reviews on August 1st, 2009 by samuraisam

Richie Rich (1994) is an interesting film. Based on the comic of the same name, Richie Rich tells the story of a kid just like any other except he’s a multi billionaire. After starring in this movie Macaulay took a 9 year hiatus from acting, it was his last movie as a ‘child star’.

Richie Rich

I first saw this movie as a child and although it isn’t exactty what you’d call ‘quality’, it does have some moments. Thankfully the movie requires little thought from the viewer; in the Richie Rich universe there are no poor people or complicated moral decisions that would usually come hand-in-hand with having a fuckton of money; the Rich family is so rich that they are able to willy-nilly buy and sell whatever and whenever they please. The only problem the Rich’s have is their niceness, the fact that they refuse to fire anyone means some greedy asshole (Van Dough) tries to murder them and take over their empire. Confusingly, the Rich family is presented as one that is ostentatious in the beginning steps of the movie; the first word the parents try to teach little Richie is “wall street”, the mobile above Richie’s crib has high denomination dollar bills and diamonds hanging from it.

Richie pimpin' from his crib

You’d almost believe me if I told you the Rich family amassed their fortune from pimpin’ based upon this picture alone.  Later in the movie the parents turn to be the good guys, who have never fired anyone from all their companies and who hold a mystical vault inside a huge mountain that contains all their treasured possesions (treasured possesions not meaning tons of gold bullion, but sappy items like little Richie’s first tricycle and other assorted crap like a banjo, the biggest fail-instrument in history)

As this is a movie in the Richie Rich universe it does have some references to science in it–the family employs a fat bastard scientist type who sits around all day eating and inventing a machine that can compress waste into a bowling ball or a bedpan; this is much like Q in the James Bond world though not as interesting. The entire family mansion has all manner of high-tech crap in it, and the family vault is protected by a voice-activated lock. Without this technology the movie wouldn’t really work as a part of Richie Rich.

We’re made to believe through the magic of movies that Richie is an unfortunate soul with no friends despite immediately having hundreds of things to do when his friends come over, and I’m referring to these hundred things because you’d only have the hundred things if you had friends in the first place. The movie presents Richie as if he woke up one day on his twelth birthday and suddenly thought “gee, it’d sure be swell to have some friends”; it’s almost as if they want it to be believable that someone would go through their entire childhood being raised by a butler and a bunch of maids and having Claudia Schiffer as their personal trainer and not be a complete asshole on every level. Despite schooling with a few other rich kids, Richie obviously doesn’t fit in so well as they’re all a buch of stuck up assholes. So Herbert (Richie’s butler) bribes some street kids that told Richie to go screw himself a few days earlier to come over and play with poor Richie. The kids come over, Richie has a McDonalds in his house…

McDonalds in Richie Rich's house; because Keenbean is a fat bastard and because childhood obesity wasn't such a big issue in 1994

and the kids play with Richie and have a great time; at the end of the day Richie finds out that stupid asshole Herbert tried to bribe the kids just so they’d play with him. At this point it is revealed to Richie that his parents were just in a plane crash. Van Dough (token asshole for this movie) plotted the assassination attempt and had a bomb placed on the Rich’s flight; Richard and Regina (Richie’s parents) find the TNT before it blows the shit out of them and somehow survive and sit on a liferaft trying to get the DadLink working again so that they can be rescued. Technically speaking Van Dough is related to the Rich family (as per the comic) however this isn’t shown in the movie. Seeking to not arouse suspicion from anyone, Van Dough picks up his bottle of champagne and walks casually into the Rich’s main office… as if no one would point out the sight of a greedy asshole with a stupid smirk on his face championing a chilled bottle of vintage Moet.

You stupid bastard, way to fail at being a criminal

Anytime anyone sees that face on someone like Van Dough they know something is up. To tip the scales a bit more towards unbelievable, Van Dough starts screwing around with his secretary after what can only be presumed as a few days after the disappearance of Richard and Regina Rich. The DadLink plays an integral part of the story telling–it enables Richie to keep intouch with his ever busy and always elsewhere father Richard and lets him ‘video talk’. In todays day and age it doesn’t seem nearly as fancy, even the wall-to-wall display in Richie’s room isn’t considered that great in today’s world. The DadLink ends up helping Richie locate his dad in the middle of the ocean.

Dadlink from Richie Rich

Dadlink from Richie Rich

One question I’ve always wondered the answer to is exactly how long are Richie Rich’s parents lost at sea? Answer: Who the hell knows. The timeframe of this movie is skewed beyond reality. If someone I knew was lost at sea, I’d be pretty worried shitless about their overall survival possibility (water/food, heat stroke etc) after no more than a few days. However Richie’s parents probably can take the award for the longest time survived at sea by anyone ever. During the time they are stuck at sea, Richie makes appearances in several publications such as, Money magazine (which is a monthly publication), Fortune Magazine and People Magazine. He also takes control of the Rich Corporation from Van Dough. All of this stuff would take weeks if not months. Herbert is framed for Richard and Regina’s disappearance and is arrested; Richie eventually breaks him out. Van Dough intercepts Richie’s rescue attempt of his parents and gets them to open the stupid family vault. Then the movie goes on to have the family unite as they are shot by a lazer whilst trying not to fall off a giant Mount Rushmore-esque statue of themselves..

Unfortunately that idiot manning the laser can’t aim for shit and the Rich family survive this whole ordeal to deliver what amounts to probably the worst line ever:

Mister Van Dough… You’re fired!

Implying that anyone actually gave a shit that the greedy assholes had never fired anyone in their company. This film makes me depressed in that it was filmed on 35mm and probably cost quite a bit to produce; some decently written, directed and acted movie was probably left as liner in some asshole film executive’s bird cage to catch shit from a cockatoo while this got the go ahead. Thanks for nothing Warner Bros.

This is really the type of movie that would have worked better as a direct-to-TV movie or similar.

Probably the best thing about this movie isn’t the movie itself; rather the IMDb forums page for the movie that is frequented by people who sit around all day poking logic holes in stupid kids movies (ahem);

One act of terrorism (advising a bomb to be placed on the Rich’s plane), attempted homicide on over four counts with multiple weapons including a gun and extortion among soo many other shady business. And this guy is gardening as a community service stint…OUTSIDE THE RICH’S MANSION!?!?!?!

IMDb forums: Van Dogh’s Prison Sentence

I dont know if this has been up already, but in the final scene at the mountain, when that dude shoots at the family with the lasergun, he shoots for like 15 seconds or something, and he doesnt even get close to hitting them. Then Cadbury smacks him in the head with that thing and takes over the laser, and WOILAH! Turns out the laser has snipervision.

IMDb forums: What bad aim?

At about 3:37/3:38 seconds, you can see up one of the maids dresses. I felt it was my duty as human being to bring this fact to light is all.

IMDb forums: At about 3: 37 Minutes, something wonderful happens

Probably the most epic post however is this,

“The film seems to me a neorealist fable. The director has taken the tools of neorealism and exploited them to show us his own social commitment. Discuss.”

IMDb forums: Richie Rich as continuation of neorealist cinema

The forums also seem to be the home to certain women that proclaim their sexual attraction to a 12-year old Macaulay Culkin or towards Lawrence Van Dough (which is even more disturbing). I didn’t really pick up much of a sexual vibe when I watched the movie, but thats another viewpoint for us all to consider (or not). Overall the movie is ok; perhaps its biggest merit is that it requires no thinking when watching and is a perfect movie to watch when you’re not bothered.

As a children’s movie it is a big bucket of fail and offers no critique of richery and instead feeds on tacky feel-good sentiment. In my opinion, the acting is pretty decent for a kids movie and is probably what saves Richie Rich overall. As for a movie in the Richie Rich universe it is quite effective and incorporates most characters, or at least character archetypes; the science factor is also there.
The dialog in the movie is semi-effective and even manages to sneak a PG-rated erection joke in there; however Richie Rich’s main failing is that it is just a kids movie and it hasn’t really moved much out of the box or tried anything new.

I rate it


More links:

IMDb page for Richie Rich

Wikipedia page for Richie Rich

Tags: , , , ,