The simple and obvious premise of RENT-A-KID, a 1992 Canadian movie released to US home video in 1995, is pulled off well enough in this children's comedy.
Orphanage owner Cliff Haber (Tony Rosato) goes on vacation, leaving his kids in the hands of his Dad Harry (Leslie Nielsen), whose business is renting everything from single glasses to house pets. While dining out, Harry overhears a young couple debating the pros and cons of having children. He
convinces Russ Syracuse (Matt McCoy) and wife Val (Sherry Miller) to try out their parenting skills by renting kids for ten days. The lucky tykes are the Ward family: Brandon (Amos Crawley), aged 13; Kyle (Cody Jones), aged 10, and Molly (Tabitha Lupien), aged five. They are sworn to stay together
as a family but have had no luck finding parents who want all three of them. The savvy kids aren't sure whether they're being used to make a buck, or whether this is their last chance to find parents who'll take them. They decide the Syracuses are worth a shot and vow to behave. The rental parents
try to give the kids what they want. Val takes Molly to lunch at a fancy restaurant where they both order grilled cheese and milk. Squeamish Russ takes would-be surgeon Kyle to watch live surgery at the local hospital. Bookish Brandon is left in the care of doorman Lawrence Kady (Christopher
All goes well, except for a few major mishaps. The Syracuses forget that they have kids and leave them on their own for a night, only to be saved and chastised by the doorman. Hearing that antique dealer Russ's business is going under, young Molly enters a sweepstakes contest for two million
dollars. She unknowingly writes her entry form on the back of one of Russ's treasures: a letter written by Abraham Lincoln. Brandon, a pretty good historian in his own right, swears that the letter is a fake. Disbelieving, Val calls him a liar. In the end the would-be parents wallow in their
inferiority complex. They realize the kids are good ... but who would want them? They're materialistic people. But when Harry comes to retrieve the merchandise, the Syracuses can't let them go. Russ explains, "In the last ten days, we fell in love with these kids, and we became a family." The
rental agreement turns into a permanent sale.
The ending is happy and predictable, but RENT-A-KID is still an above-average movie for hip kids who are sick of Macaulay Culkin. Leslie Nielsen's part must have either been ad-libbed or written as a composite of his AIRPLANE and NAKED GUN characters--and it works. His trademark tics are repeating
himself and overstating the obvious. Only his timing could make schtick like this work. RENT-A-KID is no OLIVER TWIST, but it does bring a funny and unsentimental twist to the old orphan story. This is a real comedy for kids.
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- Released: 1992
- Rating: G
- Review: The simple and obvious premise of RENT-A-KID, a 1992 Canadian movie released to US home video in 1995, is pulled off well enough in this children's comedy. Orphanage owner Cliff Haber (Tony Rosato) goes on vacation, leaving his kids in the hands of his Da… (more)