Life with Mikey (1993) / Comedy
MPAA Rated: PG for mild language
Running Time: 91 min.
Cast: Michael J. Fox, Christina Vidal, Nathan Lane, Cyndi Lauper, Ruben Blades, David Krumholtz, David Huddleston, Christine Baranski (cameo), Dylan Baker (cameo), Mandy Patinkin (cameo)
Director: James Lapine
Screenplay: Marc Lawrence
Life with Mikey stars Michael J. Fox (Back to the Future Part II, Part III) as a former child star turned into a talent agent for, what else, child stars in New York City. Business isn't so hot, but he spies a precocious young girl (Vidal, Freaky Friday) swindling people in the street and sees her as having great potential to act. Mikey guides the young girl into doing bot parts in commercials, but as he gets to know her, he realizes that she is suffering from a broken household and a dysfunctional relationship with her family. Soon, Mikey becomes her surrogate family, but he isn't quite ready for the responsibility.
With likeable characters and appealing actors, Life with Mikey is a fun, non-nonsense movie that entertains while it's on, even if it doesn't really leave any lasting impressions once it is over. Fox is engaging, while choice bit parts are given to Nathan Lane (Win a Date with Tad Hamilton) and Cyndi Lauper, and the kids are adorable, so if you like kid flicks, you may find it more entertaining than others viewing the same material.
Unfortunately, for all of its charm, the story itself is fairly vapid stuff, and it starts to get a bit creaky as moments of seriousness emerge later in the film. Silly subplots and an attempt at a feel-good ending smack of audience manipulation, as it tries to be completely irresistible, to the point of annoyance.
Viewers that typically like films just on "cuteness" alone may find it worthwhile, especially if they enjoy Michael J. Fox. There's very little ground that superior films like Broadway Danny Rose and The Odd Couple didn't already cover, so unless you absolutely just have to see child actors behave with cloying sweetness, this is one Life that deserves to go unexamined.
©2006 Vince Leo