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Franz Patrick's Movie Reviews (593)

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Dennis the Menace 
One of My Favorites When I Was 7
3/4 stars

This is one of those movies that I watched pretty much every day when I was about six years old, so I was glad to have stumbled over it on TV on a very noneventful day. Even though I haven’t seen this picture in over ten years, I was surprised to have remembered some of the dialogues to a tee, especially the witty exchanges between Dennis (Mason Gamble) and Mr. Wilson (Walter Matthau). I was also very amused with Dennis’ friends: Margaret (Amy Sakasitz) and Joey (Kellen Hathaway). Even though they’re little kids and have so much energy, they know just how much to give without crossing that line of disbelief. The movie feels very comic strip with a touch of slapstick comedy. In most films, such a style isn’t my cup of tea but that it’s exactly why I enjoyed this film so much; it’s about children which means accidents and slaptick are not apart from them. The movie is consistently very funny up until Dennis meets Switchblade Sam, the robber and villain of the story, played by a barely recognizable Christopher Lloyd. I thought a villain wasn’t necessary to the story because not only did it make the movie longer (and slow down a bit), it took away some time from the budding relationship between Dennis and Mr. Wilson. I would also like to note Joan Plowright for playing Martha Wilson with such sweetness. I seriously wanted her to be my grandmother. This movie will always have a place in my heart because it was one of the first American movies I’ve seen. When I was younger, I didn’t understand what the characters were saying (English isn’t my first language). But watching it again made me appreciate it that much more not only because I understood the film’s dialogue but that I was able to sense some of the more adult themes and undertones. “Dennis the Menace” is great fun but wouldn’t be the same without Matthau and Gamble.


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