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KIDS ON FILM

'Dennis' Gets Boys' Scamp of Approval

July 08, 1993|LYNN SMITH | Lynn Smith is a staff writer for The Times' View section. and

In "Dennis the Menace," the mischievous 5-year-old wreaks havoc with Mr. Wilson's orderly life and confounds a would-be robber. (Rated PG)

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Nearly everyone, girls and boys, kids and grown-ups alike, laughed at the antics of the irrepressible, sweet-natured Dennis. But no one hooted louder or longer than a group of 8- and 9-year-old boys. Let's just say they could relate.

"I loved it," said Eric, expressing the collective opinion of the dozen high-spirited friends who came to the show on a birthday outing. Leaving the theater, they were still chuckling over their favorite parts.

Blake: "I liked the part when Mr. Wilson was going into the bathroom and slipped on the floor and he did the splits."

Brian: "When Mr. Wilson drank the toilet freshener."

Matt: "When the robber ate the beans and tooted."

Steven could barely contain his giggles long enough to explain his favorite prank: "When the robber . . . goes up to the ceiling and then . . . falls down and lands on the board and the pocket knife falls down . . . on his behind."

Some of the boys were impressed with Dennis' ingenuity and techniques. "My favorite part was when he told the robber he could get out of being tied up and he showed the guy how to do it right and then tied the guy up and put the handcuffs on the rope," said Michael, 10. "But I didn't know how he did it."

"I did," bragged Blake. He might even do it sometime, he said, "to someone I really hated."

Did they learn any other new tricks they might, God forbid, try at home?

Sure, said Ryan. "When he shot the aspirin into Mr. Wilson's mouth with a slingshot." Oh boy . . .

The boys were not impressed with the red-haired, bespectacled Margaret. (Gagging noises.)

But Brian liked when she made Joey "kiss the baby doll's butt." (Giggles.)

Most said they knew at least one kid like Dennis. (Shouts and finger-pointing.) Who might that be? "Me!" they chorused.

Clearly, these boys have been around the block. One said he once launched a marble from his window at an old lady's back.

"She called the police and . . . they told me not to do it again."

Only one boy, a 4-year-old, said he didn't like the movie.

Why not? " 'Cause," he said.

Maybe he can't relate yet. Just wait until he's 5.

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