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Mac is Back in ‘Richie Rich’

December 23, 1994

Undated (AP) _ In ″Richie Rich,″ Macaulay Culkin may have stepped up in class - by $70 billion - but he continues his ″Home Alone″ shenanigans. He still subjects the bad guys to intricate tortures. But this time they are high-tech, befitting Richie’s status as the richest kid in the world.

″Richie Rich″ originated in Harvey Comics, and the comic-book influence pervades the movie. Everything is over the top. His baseball coach is Reggie Jackson. The Rich residence puts Buckingham Palace to shame. Richie’s valet Cadbury (Jonathan Hyde) is oh-so British. The inventions of Rich Industries’ Professor Keenbean (Michael McShane) push beyond the reaches of science.

Richie’s playthings approach the same scale. His own in-house McDonald’s. A gravity-defying roller coaster. An electronic map for locating his globe- trotting father.

The plot pits Richie and his valet against Lawrence Van Dough (John Larroquette), the nefarious second-in-command at Rich Industries. Bent on capturing the Rich fortune, he sends the parents (Edward Herrmann, Christine Ebersole) off to tea with Queen Elizabeth with a bomb inside their airplane. While they are missing, Van Dough executes his takeover.

Richie becomes a prisoner as Van Dough’s security forces invade the mansion. He launches a counterattack with the aid of Cadbury, Professor Keenbean and newfound baseball friends from the inner city.

At times ″Richie Rich″ goes too far, such as the family’s sculptured Mt. Richmore, which is the site of the overextended climax (no credit given to Alfred Hitchcock and ″North by Northwest″).

Director Daniel Petrie keeps the whimsy under control most of the time, and he draws evenhanded work from the actors. The script by Tom S. Parker and Jim Jennewein, based on Neil Tolkin’s story, rarely rises above the level of comic-strip balloons, but that’s as it should be.

Critics have speculated whether Macaulay Culkin could mature on the screen, his flops with ″Getting Even With Dad″ and ″The Pagemaster″ causing much doubt. ″Richie Rich″ indicates that his winning ways can continue, if the right career choices are made. He can still charm an audience at 14.

The supporting cast is well chosen, especially John Larroquette as the relentlessly evil Van Dough and Jonathan Hyde, a modern-day Jeeves.

The Warner Bros. release was produced by Joel Silver and John Davis. Rated PG, perhaps because of excitement and children in peril. Running time: 95 minutes.


Motion Picture Association of America rating definitions:

G - General audiences. All ages admitted.

PG - Parental guidance suggested. Some material may not be suitable for children.

PG-13 - Special parental guidance strongly suggested for children under 13. Some material may be inappropriate for young children.

R - Restricted. Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian.

NC-17 - No one under 17 admitted.

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