The 90s demand for "good family entertainment" caught the attention of even low-budget movie hacks, who habitually jump on any trend that promises financial rewards. In THE SKATEBOARD KID, some Roger Corman associates endow a kids' film with the same cinematic virtues previously reserved
for direct-to-video cheapies about CB-talkin' truckers, kung-fu fighters, horny nerds at summer camp and mad slashers.
Young Zack Tyler (Trevor Lissauer) is uprooted and taken to the dusty hamlet of Mill Creek because dumb dad Frank (Timothy Busfield) has a job opportunity. A provincial creep breaks Zack's skateboard, but in a second-hand store he finds an affordable replacement that once belonged to a magician.
In the film's lone clever bit, Zack customizes his new wheels with a tiny engine and headlights, while on TV John Barrymore drinks a potion and mutates from Dr. Jekyll into Mr. Hyde; the super skateboard, similarly, takes on a personality all its own, calling itself Rip and speaking in the jocular
voice of Dom DeLuise. Zack and Rip take on a local gang of skateboard bullies, defeat a greedy used-car dealer, and hitch bereaved single-parent Frank to pretty Mill Creek widow Maggie (Bess Armstrong).
Subplots include lost treasure and a little girl who needs an operation, but don't amount to much. Bad-cinema devotees should recognize the retread of Corman's 1992 release MUNCHIE (itself a knock-off of E.T. that filched its title from a Corman rip-off of GREMLINS), in which DeLuise dubbed an
equally-unconvincing creature who helped a boy triumph over adversity. THE SKATEBOARD KID, however, is adversity: the stupefying plot, clumsy editing, sad jokes, teenspeak dialogue, abysmal special effects (nadir: Rip learns to fly) and thrash-metal music--a music-video by the Trashkittens plays
under the closing credits--might well send adolescent viewers back to their homework. The appealing shots of skateboards, some riderless, arcing gracefully overhead in a blue sky crossed by low-flying airliners, quickly wear out their welcome. (Violence.)
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- Released: 1993
- Rating: PG
- Review: The 90s demand for "good family entertainment" caught the attention of even low-budget movie hacks, who habitually jump on any trend that promises financial rewards. In THE SKATEBOARD KID, some Roger Corman associates endow a kids' film with the same cinem… (more)