Warts and all, family is eternal. Sometimes circumstances change, and members enter and leave but the genetics, and in some cases love, remains. Still, sometimes you are left wondering about their faults and what life would be like with a different set of parents, especially if you feel your blood kin aren’t appreciative of you. In 1994, a young child got to see what life is like in a wide range of other families. Embarking on a worldwide adventure, bringing him much fame and fortune. That child was called North.
North is a bright kid, excelling in all endeavours he puts himself towards, But the neglect of his parents makes him take stock of his life. Inspired by some wise words from a shopping mall bunny. He hires an unscrupulous lawyer and sues for emancipation from his parents. After much media attention, the judge grants his request, but there is a catch, he must be in the arms of a parent by Labor Day or be sent to an orphanage. North embarks on a global tour to find the perfect family, unaware of how much of an impact his decision has, and the nebulous consequences that lie in store.
Most of the locations and inhabitants of said locations feel just out of a child’s imagination. Giving a wholesome storybook feel, that surprisingly doesn’t feel as saccharine as you would imagine. Considering the film’s roots as a novel, this might not be so surprising. Nevertheless, there is a great sense of adventure, as North goes from Texas to the frozen Arctic by the way of Hawaii, to European capitals, and African tribes among other locations only hinted at in the title sequence. But even outside the exemplar characteristics of North, we have children who act very adult-like and vice versa. Notably, North’s peer and advisor, Winchell, who comically is equipped with suspenders, a visor, and a well-established newspaper concern. He takes great interest in seeing this endeavour succeed, fuelling the media storm around North’s decision.
Ultimately there is a strong undercurrent of comedy that feels fun for all the family. A lot of the gags got to me, at least they caught me off guard in a pun-like sort of way, and there is a joy to see how Bruce Willis creatively attempts to match the environment he is in. But he is just one of many in the cast, full of well-beloved names who also throw themselves into the fun of the situation. Aside from a young Elijah Wood in the title role, the adult population is a collection of familiar faces. While North is a departure in the tone and humour of Seinfeld, it is great to see Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Jason Alexander for example, and I think it is impossible not to love Jon Lovitz in any role he is in. If you didn’t know you wanted a full musical number featuring Dan Aykroyd and Reba McEntire to the tune of Bonanza, then North will soon highlight how much of a hole not hearing it leaves.
The film is chock-full of heart-warming adventure, with kids more adult than the adults, and a lot of magic in between. North’s fantastical world is warm to the touch, like a pleasant summer’s weekend in the garden, North charms the crowd with its wit and wholesome vibe, offering sights and sounds worthy of any adventure, populated with an all-star cast that is willing to get into the spirit of Rob Reiner’s vision. Whether you’re as close as kin to your family, or your relationship could do with a tune-up, you’ll appreciate the globe-trotting adventure of North.
If you want more positive reviews delivered to the e-mail box of your choice, you can click on that little text bubble at the bottom of the screen. Do you agree or disagree? or have a suggestion for another pop-culture artefact that needs a positive light shone on it? Leave a comment in the comment box below! But remember to keep it positive!