House Arrest

on August 16, 1996 by Carole Glines
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   It seems that in bad comedies children always know better than their parents, and "House Arrest" plays out that tired premise for nearly two hours, without even giving us a youngster with Macaulay Culkin-like talent to lighten the duration. "House Arrest" concerns Grover Beindorf (Kyle Howard), a nerdy boy who's devastated when his parents (Jamie Lee Curtis and Kevin Pollak) tell him and his younger sister that they're separating. Determined to change their minds, Grover decides to lock his parents in the basement until they work out their problems. Soon, school chums whose parents also need marital therapy kidnap them and put them in the basement with the Beindorfs.
   Writer Michael Hitchcock doesn't realize his heroes' actions are so despicable you can't muster much sympathy for their emotional woes. Also, the casting of the various children who team with Grover to fix their parents doesn't make sense; one boy (Russell Harper) who befriends Grover looks about 10 years his senior. In the starring role, Howard is simply a moppet with puppy-dog eyes and a bowl haircut. The adult actors should have known better than to end up in this basement. Starring Jamie Lee Curtis, Jennifer Tilly and Kevin Pollak. Directed by Harry Winer. Written by Michael Hitchcock. Produced by Judy Polone and Carroll Newman. An MGM release. Comedy. Rated PG for thematic material and language. Running time: 107 min
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