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Problem Child (1990)



Average Rating: 2.4/10
Reviews Counted: 24
Fresh: 1 | Rotten: 23

Mean-spirited and hopelessly short on comic invention, Problem Child is a particularly unpleasant comedy, one that's loaded with manic scenery chewing and juvenile pranks.


Average Rating: 3.2/10
Critic Reviews: 7
Fresh: 0 | Rotten: 7

Mean-spirited and hopelessly short on comic invention, Problem Child is a particularly unpleasant comedy, one that's loaded with manic scenery chewing and juvenile pranks.



liked it
Average Rating: 2.6/5
User Ratings: 55,620

My Rating

Movie Info

An adoptive parent discovers that some children are given up by their biological parents for very good reasons in this dark comedy. Ben Healy (John Ritter) is a pleasant but brow-beaten yuppie working for his father Big Ben (Jack Warden), a tyrannical sporting goods dealer. Ben would love to have a son, but his wife Flo (Amy Yasbeck) has been unable to conceive. Ben approaches less-than-scrupulous adoption agent Igor Peabody (Gilbert Gottfried) with his dilemma, and Igor presents Ben and Flo


Comedy, Kids & Family


Oct 19, 1999

Universal Pictures

Watch It Now



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All Critics (24) | Top Critics (7) | Fresh (1) | Rotten (23)

Some kids are born bad. Others achieve badness. And some have badness thrust upon them. The same can be said of movies.

May 21, 2013 Full Review Source: Philadelphia Inquirer
Philadelphia Inquirer
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Inside Dennis Dugan's uncertainly staged, awkwardly sentimental Problem Child is another movie fighting to get out-one that's much meaner and probably more interesting.

May 21, 2013 Full Review Source: Chicago Tribune
Chicago Tribune
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The rest of the kid's tricks are too unimaginative to be much fun -- though with jokes this lame you won't have to worry as much about your children getting any bad ideas.

September 7, 2011 Full Review Source: Entertainment Weekly
Entertainment Weekly
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Universal took a step in the right direction by whittling Problem Child down to just 81 minutes but didn't go far enough. The studio should have excised another 75 minutes and released this unbelievable mess as a short.

March 26, 2009 Full Review Source: Variety
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Enough to make you gag.

February 9, 2006 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

As directed by the actor Dennis Dugan, everyone seems to be yelling their lines and making huge hand gestures instead of acting.

August 30, 2004 Full Review Source: New York Times
New York Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Smart beginning, witless ending.

May 21, 2013 Full Review Source: South Florida Sun-Sentinel
South Florida Sun-Sentinel

Pipsqueak comedy that does not have the courage of its own convictions.

May 21, 2013 Full Review Source: Empire Magazine
Empire Magazine

It's too bad the editors of Problem Child couldn't have saved time and money by just putting the whole film through a shredder.

May 21, 2013 Full Review Source: TV Guide's Movie Guide
TV Guide's Movie Guide

Antics of a diabolical child are neither valuable nor funny.

November 23, 2010 Full Review Source: Common Sense Media
Common Sense Media

The film gets so lost in angry pranks, it forgets to provide a reason why Junior shouldn't be hung from the nearest tree...The worst movie of all time? Problem Child.

July 29, 2010 Full Review Source:

Grating, irritating, truly a problem movie calling itself a comedy.

October 30, 2004

Child abuse

July 25, 2002 | Comment (1)

There are amusing moments here and there and John Ritter offers an ingratiating performance, but that's about it.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Deseret News, Salt Lake City
Deseret News, Salt Lake City

Audience Reviews for Problem Child

Awful, uninspired comedy about a brat, this is one of the worst comedies I had the misfortune of seeing. Poorly written, acted and directed, this is a film that never was funny to begin with. I never understood why this film was a hit, as it is painful to watch. I found the film to be very unfunny, and the lead child actor was really annoying and unfunny. The film tries too hat delivering effective gags, and it fails because the material just doesn't cut it. In terms of a good comedy, this film doesn't even come close as being a funny film. The cast make it a horrible film, and the directing is unfocused and sloppy, that's to be expected from a Dennis Dugan film. This is comedy at its lowest form. A tiresome, boring film that is just painful to watch, Problem Child is a misfire of a film, one that never should have been made in the first place. The script has its limitations, and it constantly shows on-screen. If you're looking for a funny film with this one, you'll be sadly disappointed. I despised everything about this film, and I thought it was bad from start to finish. The film didn't even have potential of being a good comedy. This is one of those films that just has nothing good going for it. You should definitely avoid it, and watch a funnier film than this. This one scraps the bottom of the barrel, and it's too flawed to work. Avoid it like the plague. Annoying and never funny, this has got to be one of the worst films in the genre. I think it's a shame that celluloid was wasted on trash like this.
July 1, 2012
Jeff "The Dude" Lebowski

Super Reviewer

Fun. But, the real problem is the screenplay.
May 6, 2011
Lucas Martins

Super Reviewer

A fun filled family adventure flick. I really liked this movie when I was a kid, and it's still entertaining.
April 14, 2011

Super Reviewer

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