Where did we leave off? Oh right, North travels North to Alaska.
Graham Greene is North's Alaskan parent, and we see him opening his igloo's machine door with a garage door opener. He is a Native American though, so playing him as an Alaskan isn't racially insensitive. At least they didn't cast a European descendant like Kathy Bates as North's Alaskan mother...sorry, they did - spoke too soon!
Anyway, this family seems nice enough so far. North is sitting inside an igloo with Greene and Bates. Greene opens a hole in the floor to reveal that he can go ice fishing inside his own home. As luxurious as that sounds, that ice is way too thin to possibly support the weight of the furniture in this house. Who says movies have to obey the laws of physics?
Greene starts whistling some tune that sounds familiar, but I honestly couldn't tell you what it's called. North and his Alaskan mother soon join in and everyone starts tapping their feet. What's the point of this? Nothing is being said, their all just whistling and tapping their feet. Also the entire floor moves when they tap their feet, furthering my argument that this ice is way too thin to possibly support their weight.
My real question is this though. How long until they make an utterly pathetic joke about Alaska itself?
"Do you like Christmas?" Bates asks.
"Who doesn't?" North replies.
"Well you haven't had a Christmas until you've had an Alaskan Christmas." Bates says.
"Since our days last for months at a time you can just imagine the festivities," Greene adds. Right, so they celebrate Christmas all winter then? Actually no, most of Alaska is below the arctic circle, meaning that even during the winter they still have day and night. In fact, their days are very short around the time of Christmas, in some places less than 5 hours. Somehow I don't think the filmmakers did any research for this pile of donkey dodo.
Anyway, Greene explains that opening presents takes 3 weeks long. North then asks,
"What's the catch?" Considering how he was supposed to replace a dead son or become an advertising tool with his previous parents, that's a fair question. This confuses Greene however, showing that this couple legitimately wants a son.
"We have pride North, and we're proud of our pride." Sounds like the filmmakers here, they must be riddled with pride to actually think this is good. "We wouldn't ask anything of a child." Not even to do well in school, act their age or do their chores? Not asking anything of a child is not good parenting and will spawn the laziest spoiled brat in the world. Believe me, I know people who were raised like this and became not only too lazy to get a job, but happily lazy.
"All we want is for you to follow your dreams and be the best North you can be," Bates says. OK fine, scratch that last comment, these parents could be alright.
Graham Greene then says it's time to flow and calls in his dad and out pops...what the frick. You're not going to believe this, but Abe Vigoda from The Godfather walks into the main room.
Anyway, Greene explains that "time to flow" means that when an Eskimo is too old to contribute to society the family walks to the ocean and proudly puts him on an Ice flow...no, you're not going here. You can't be going here movie.
Yes, they put the old man on an ice flow and send him out onto the ocean, apparently so they can die with dignity.
The last reported case of this happening was in 1939, and it was even rare back then. Heck, even before settlers came to North America this practice was rare and frowned upon in certain groups. Usually this was only done in times of famine, and they were more often abandoned to die than this. It was never about dignity, it was about survival. To even imply that people still do this today is an insult to Alaskans, an insult the entire native population of North America, and an insult to the word "dignity" itself.
North's parents are enthusiastic about this "event", but North and Vigoda are both resistant to the idea. North spends the entire time talking to Vigoda and learning some of his wisdom. When they get to the ocean, there's even a lineup of seniors waiting to flow into the ocean, with some dink pushing people along complaining about how there's only 2 months of sunlight left. I really hate this movie.
One senior sits down on a comfy chair on his ice flow and turns on his TV, yet there's no evidence of a power generator anywhere. How is this TV getting power, and how will it get a signal with those bunny ears out in the ocean?
Vigoda hesitates before walking onto his ice flow and even asks them to track him down if any policy changes. What, are you saying that Alaska requires old people to be sent out in the North universe? Also, Vigoda's ice flow has nothing but a stool on it - no nice furniture, no TV, no nothing. What a rip-off, the other guy gets a comfy chair and a TV set?
North and his Alaskan parents ride a sleigh back. North decides to ride beside the sleigh driver, played by Bruce Willis.
"Hey, it's you!" North says.
"No it's not," Willis replies. What the frick? A more sensible response would be "Do I know you?" or "Me who?" Anyway, north comments that not even his real parents would send his grandpa away like that. No kidding North, nobody would do that in this day and age unless they were either mentally unstable or sadistic.
Willis figures out that this kid is North, and he suddenly has one week left to find new parents. It took the family seven weeks to walk to the ocean and yet North didn't notice despite stopping for lunch 49 times? Willis then jokes about how the 6-months of daylight (which doesn't fricken exist there I remind you) throws everybody off. This driver guy says he only showered 12 times in the 70's. Well, that is more than Francis King Louis XIV, who took only 3 baths in his entire life. Anyway, Willis suggests that North can still go back to his original parents, but North is angered by this suggestion because his parents haven't tried to contact him in 2 months. Fair enough, I'd be angry too.
The movie then tells us why his parents haven't tried to contact him - they're still in a coma from that stupid article near the start of the movie. Worse yet, they're put on display in a museum, with Ben Stein introducing the display.
How did Rob Rainer get so many stars to sing onto this. Anyway, Ben Stein is comparing North's fainted parents on display to MAN WALKING ON THE MOON! He also comments that because North's parents fainted, global power is shifting. PARENTS FAINTING SIMPLY WILL NOT CREATE A WORLD POWER! The reporter kid and Arthur Belt, North's divorce lawyer, are looking at the unveiling from a balcony. The reporter hints that he wants more power than president and suggests that he has a backup plan in case North does return to his parents.
North's plane lands in the middle of a field and is greeted by a large group of Amish folk. North's Amish mother is played by Kelly McGillis - yes the girl from Top Gun. Why does this movie have to make fun of the Amish now? Wasn't Texas, Hawaii and Alaska enough?
"Greetings...North," North's Amish father says. "I am thy new father, and this good woman who art my wife are thy new mother." You're really doing this movie? Anyway, North orders the pilots to floor it and they take off. At least the Amish ridicule was short, but that only makes it more unnecessary.
Anyway, Cue Montage #7
Montage # 7 includes North being declared the new emperor of China, even though China no longer has emperors and North isn't fricken Chinese. North is turned off by the Egyptian emperor-style haircut he’s offered.
Next, he's swinging around with natives in Zaire and hugging a fat topless woman (we only see her from behind.) How would these natives even learn that North's being auctioned off to potential parents, and why would they care? North stares at her funballs as he explains that he won't get much homework done - YOU WON'T EVEN HAVE HOMEWORK IN A NATIVE SOCIETY LIKE THIS YOU DINGBAT! And this movie was marketed for kids people.
Next up is Paris, France, where his auctioning parents are laughing constantly as they watch Jerry Lewis. North keeps switching the channel, but Jerry Lewis is on everywhere. This scene takes the movie's stereotyping to a whole new level of stupid.
We interrupt this movie montage with a special news bulletin! North only has 3 days to choose new parents. He just flew to New York to meet his final parent candidate, even though we've only seen 7 before and North got hundreds of requests.
Do we really need to interrupt this movie with the news? Anyway, His final auctioning parents are actually given names; Ward and Donna Nelson, played by John Ritter and Faith Ford. I would ask how these two were forced into this movie, but Faith Ford was also in Beethoven's 5th.
They seem like a nice enough family so far - they have two kids and they live in a normal house. Surely if they have names North will pick them, right?
After North walks in, we see on the TV that North's head has been added to Mount Rushmore. AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAfuopclxkhsjnpoiesrkjhnc.
This review is experiencing technical problems, please stay tuned while I give a 2-word review of Dead Space 2 - It's scary!
[you look familiar, were you in Die Hard 2...and Sewer Shark for the Sega CD for that matter?]
Alright, back to North! We see the reporter in a big office talking to a security guard at the museum. North's parents then wake up, and they're escorted out by the same security guard. They pass by body doubles, who take North's Parents' places in the museum display. Uh, why not just put dummies there? You wouldn't have to pay them. It would make sense. You're still going with the body doubles? Ok whatever. The reporter films North's parents asking North to return to them.
Meanwhile, North is playing football with his new family while his mother is cooking on the BBQ. North is enjoying himself here, but something doesn't quite feel right for him. They're later playing cards at the table before bedtime. The security guard then delivers a tape to North's new house, and they gladly accept. North is happy to receive the tape too, and puts it into the VCR right away. The tape opens up with North's dad saying,
"We don't want you." North's mom then says,
"He's not our son." What? The slimy reporter kid lied to North's parents? I...saw that coming a mile away. The tape upsets North, and while the Nelsons are still treating him well, North still doesn't feel right. He decides to leave them, and they have a heartfelt goodbye. This scene here is actually kind of nice, and if the majority of the movie focused on this family it might have had a chance. On the down side, the named parents are in the movie for a total of 2 minutes – WHY GIVE THEM A NAME IF THEY’RE ONLY IN THE MOVIE FOR 2 MINUTES IF NORTH’S REAL PARENTS DON’T HAVE A NAME DESPITE BEING CENTRAL TO THE PLOT?
North decides to disappear by wandering into downtown New York. After giving his holy coin (coin with a perfect hole in the middle despite being shot) to a homeless person, he wanders down the streets at nighttime. New York's a perfectly safe place for a kid in the 90's; prostitutes, cops fighting criminals and even being tracked by the security guard from the museum...wait what?
Another conversation between the kid reporter and Mr. Belt happens next. This time, the reporter talks about eliminating North as a martyr in order to gain even more power. So he's officially the bad guy now? This movie took a sudden dark turn.
After that incredibly short conversation, the movie cuts to North running away from the security guard –who’s now a crazed gunman shooting at North. The chase reaches a carousal that is running despite nobody riding it. Heck, nobody's even around and yet its running. WHY IS IT RUNNING WHEN NOBODY'S AROUND? North climbs over the ride's fence and escapes the gunman.
As north is sneaking through the park, he's invited into a dark corner with a kid dressed in a trench coat. The kid gives North the real tape of his parent's interview. The kid then disappears. North then stops to buy a hotdog from a street vender. The hotdog vender gives North his change, which includes the coin with a hole in it – that was pointless.
As soon as North starts eating the hotdog, the crazy security guard shows up and starts shooting again. North jumps into the back of a delivery truck, because all trucks drive with their backs open, and the truck drives away as the security guard fires off a few more shots. This security guard is a horrible shot - he fires several shots at a truck that's only 10 feet away from him and only one bullet touches anything in the truck. Time to hire a new goon Mr. Evil reporter.
North's hat falls out of the truck and is covered in a red liquid substance - holy crap this scene is dark. When did this failed family comedy suddenly turn into an action film marketed toward teenagers? It took the Harry Potter movies four films to get that far, how out of his mind was Rainer when he made this thing?
Anyway, North is alive and well; it turns out the truck was full of red jam, or something like that. North hides on a wooden skid as it's pulled off the truck and into a kitchen. North grabs the VHS tape and walks into a comedy club of some kind. You'll never guess who’s on stage. Bruce Willis! This guardian angel thing is starting to get really stupid guys, if Willis is supposed to be the guardian angel, MAKE HIM REMEMBER THINGS!
North finds Willis's room after the show and is invited right in.
"What's your name kid?"
"Always been one of my favorite directions." And we're back to the failed comedy again...wonderful.
Willis lets North use his VCR. North watches as his parents beg him to come home, even crying while doing so. Like North’s farewell scene with his named parents, the tape isn't all that bad, too bad Willis had to destroy the mood by throwing in a couple more lame jokes. Willis then dispenses his advice that we've been waiting the whole movie for. He explains that North's parents loved him all along, more so than any adopting parents ever could - as someone who has an adopted cousin who was abandoned in a field I know differently.
"What have I done?" North asks.
"I'll tell you what you've done," Willis says. "You've realized something that takes most people a whole lifetime to figure out, and some people never figure it out at all." What's the wisdom here Willis? We've been waiting for the whole movie to have something redeemable, something salvageable. What genius thought do you have for us?
"The bird in the hand is always greener than the grass under the other guy's bushes." What the frick does that mean? That's mixing in several different metaphors into one and far too confusing to make any sense. Anyway, North leaves for the airport so that he can travel back to his parents. As North leaves the comedian, Willis says one last thing.
"If you can't take the heat, stay out of Miami."
"What does that metaphor mean?"
"What metaphor? Have you ever been down there in August? Your balls stick to your leg like crazy glue." Yes, we definitely needed that picture in our heads in a fricken kids movie.
North tries to board the plane, but the girl at the ticket booth stops him. Why? Because she just read an article saying that North is dead. Really, he's standing right in front of you. I'm pretty sure this short conversation was supposed to be funny, but it's so lame I can't even tell where the jokes are - yes, jokes so bad you can’t even spot them. Are all the adults in this film completely brainless? A bunch of kids come from behind and chase North back out of the airport.
A Fed Ex truck is driving by as North continues running away from the other kids outside the terminal. Bruce Willis is driving it; who could possibly be surprised at this point? Willis tells North to jump in, and he does.
"What are you, some kind of guardian angel?" North asks.
"As a matter of speaking we at Federal Express feel that we are guardians," Willis says. "Guardians of your most important packages and priority communiqué." That was so blatant you could turn that clip into a Fed Ex commercial. Willis tells North to hide inside a box, and then he delivers the box to North's house. OK, how does Willis know where North lives?
North runs inside but nobody is home. Well, nobody but the reporter kid. The reporter kid tells North that his parents are at his secret spot.
With a little persuasion of course. Not much of a secret spot if everyone knows where it is. North has 9 minutes to reach his parents, so he takes off and begins the final montage of the movie.
We see North racing toward the mall intercut with North's parents at his secret spot - the judge is also there with his judge table with his own digital clock...and a display full of clocks behind him. WHY THE FRICK DOES THE JUDGE HAVE A JUDGE'S TABLE SET UP IN THE MIDDLE OF A DEPARTMENT STORE?
Shouldn't he be in the court room sending murderers to jail? Let the cops handle this, holy crap I hate this movie.
As North nears his parents, we see the security guard sitting near his parents with a gun. Yes, the guy is waiting to kill North. When North spots his parents, the movie enters slow motion as the family runs toward each other.
Just before North and his parents hug, the security guy fires his gun and...North wakes up in his secret spot gasping.
You read that right; the entire movie was a dream. The ultimately lame cliché to close up the most insultingly unfunny kids movie I've ever seen. This is what the entire movie has been building up toward, going through more than an hour of insulting stereotypes, painfully unfunny jokes, dark action scenes, and confusing jumbled lessons just to end on the worst note possible and this is why North has the negative reputation it oh so deserves to have.
Back to the movie, the store is closed by now and the lights are out. Bunny suit Bruce walks by and offers North a ride home. On the way home, North pulls out the coin with a hole and explains that he's always had this "lucky" coin. As Willis reaches North's home, he says,
"There's no place like home." Great! Now we're stealing from The Wizard of Oz. As Willis drives away, North's parents call out and run to their son. They've been calling everyone trying to find him. North tells them that he fell asleep in the mall, and the movie ends.
Overall, the second half was better than the first half, but it was still horrible. There wasn't quite as much to talk about as the movie generally moved at a slower pace, but there's still plenty of fuel for the fire. There were a few isolated moments that showed promise, but they are overshadowed by everything that’s wrong with this film. As for the movie as a whole, I've already summed up my thoughts in the beginning paragraph of this review so I'll just throw in my two word review.
Two word review - Insultingly bad