Bad parenting is played for laughs in this blackly comic adaptation of the story by gleefully misanthropic Roald Dahl. Matilda (smugly adorable Mara Wilson) is a brilliant little poppet who's roundly loathed by her squat, vulgar parents (director Danny DeVito and real-life spouse Rhea Perlman), who make up in sheer, grating noisiness what they lack in stature. Things are scarcely better at Miss Trunchbull's Academy of Institutionalized Child Abuse, which Matilda attends over her parents' selfish protests: "Who would be here to sign for packages?" her bad dad whines when she first proposes going to school. But the pint-sized lass turns out to have CARRIE-like telekinetic abilities, which should delight every misunderstood child who ever longed to show them all. Parents may wonder why, if they're so unregenerately awful, they've just shelled out the big bucks to treat their kids to this coarse and mean-spirited spectacle.