Blank Check (film)
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Rupert Wainwright|
|Produced by||Gary Adelson
|Written by||Blake Snyder
|Music by||Nicholas Pike|
|Editing by||Hubert de la Bouillerie
|Studio||Walt Disney Pictures|
|Distributed by||Buena Vista Pictures|
|Release dates||February 11, 1994 (USA)
August 5, 1994 (UK)
|Running time||94 minutes|
|Box office||$30,577,969 (domestic) |
Blank Check (also known as Blank Cheque in Europe) is a 1994 comedy film directed by Rupert Wainwright, starring Brian Bonsall, Karen Duffy, Miguel Ferrer, James Rebhorn, Tone Lōc, Jayne Atkinson and Michael Lerner and was released by Walt Disney Pictures.
The story begins when convicted bank robber Carl Quigley (Miguel Ferrer) escapes from prison. Soon after his prison break, Quigley enters a warehouse and recovers $1,000,000 he had hidden there sometime before his arrest (although it is unclear exactly how he illegally obtained the money). The film then cuts to 11-year-old Preston Waters (Brian Bonsall), whose father works as an investor for a living and is very frugal with money—so much so that when he is given a blank check from his grandmother for his birthday, his dad fills it out for only $11.00. Plus, when invited to a friend's birthday party at an amusement park, he only has enough tokens to go on the kiddie rides.
After Quigley visits bank president Edward Biderman (Michael Lerner) in his bank office to discuss his plan (along with threatening Biderman's family if he does not comply with it), Quigley explains that his assistant, Juice (Tone Loc) will be stopping by Biderman's office with a check to be cashed for $1,000,000 the next day at 1:00 P.M. After the meeting, Quigley runs over Preston's bicycle in a Jaguar XJ that he has presumably purchased with the stolen money, while Preston was riding out of the bank's parking lot. Pressed for time as he sees a police car patrolling the area, Quigley gives Preston a signed blank check and tells him to give it to his dad so they can buy him a new bike. Instead, Preston writes himself a check for $1,000,000 by printing it on his computer. He goes to the bank the next day and is directed to Biderman's office by a teller (as the teller could not cash a check that size herself). Thinking that Preston is Quigley's assistant, Juice, Biderman cashes his check with $1,000,000 from a safe behind a painting.
As Preston is leaving the bank, the real Juice enters Biderman's office with another check for $1,000,000. Realizing that Biderman mistook Preston for Juice, the trio begins a frantic search for Preston. Meanwhile, he embarks on an extreme shopping spree over the course of 6 days, buying a castle-style house (by outbidding Quigley using the voice box on his computer over the phone) along with many other expensive items (limousine service, go-kart track, water slide, etc.). He spends $999,667.83 of the original $1,000,000. Preston covers himself by saying he is making these purchases for a millionaire known as "Macintosh" (named after Preston's computer) who lives in the castle house.
The entire time, Preston was being investigated by FBI agent Shay Stanley (working undercover as a teller at Biderman's bank and Preston's love interest) for money laundering, as the bills he was using to make his purchases were Biderman's watermarked ones. At a birthday party Preston throws for Mr. Macintosh that forced him into debt (it was actually his birthday) leaving only $332.17 in his account, he is forced into a showdown with Quigley, Juice, and Biderman. After the trio manage to capture him and demand to know what happened with the money, he admits Macintosh is a false name, to which Biderman suggests that Quigley can use Preston's purchases and the Macintosh name to give himself a new identity. Then Preston takes off, pursued by the trio. When he eludes them, they split up and he puts some virtuality goggles on Biderman and, with a video game controller, makes him imagine he's in a jungle with the sounds, watching a flock of sheep, trying to stop a bull from charging into him, wrestling a donkey, waking up to the crowing of a rooster, and sitting down to milk a cow to which he complains.
Juice gets trapped in the batting cage and Preston pelts him with baseballs. Then he is caught in a final showdown with Quigley, but he climbs up a tree and with a bungee cord, jumps down with giant boxing gloves, knocks Quigley into a cage ball, and locks him in. Then he rolls him along the track with his go-kart and catapults him into the pool. Quigley plays dead when Preston comes to check on him, before finally grabbing him and calling the others out.
When the trio is confronted by the FBI at Preston's castle house, Quigley claims to be Macintosh. However, with the FBI knowing that Mr. Macintosh had been using the watermarked bills, they arrest Quigley, Juice, and Biderman and Preston and Shay share a sweet kiss before parting ways. After Preston gets home, his family throws him a birthday party. His father apologizes for being so harsh to him when it came to money, and his brothers congratulate him on pulling off the scheme. The movie ends with him looking at a picture of Shay, smiling and making a birthday wish. He actually wanted to marry her in 5 years, but they both agreed to 6 years.
- Brian Bonsall – Preston Waters
- Karen Duffy – Shay Stanley
- Miguel Ferrer – Carl Quigley
- Tone Lōc – Juice
- Michael Lerner – Edward Biderman
- James Rebhorn – Fred Waters
- Jayne Atkinson – Sandra Waters
- Michael Faustino – Ralph Waters
- Chris Demetral – Damien Waters
- Rick Ducommun – Henry
- Maxwell Strachan – Quincy Carmichael
- Debbie Allen – Yvonne
- Alex Allen Morris – Riggs
- Alex Zuckerman – Butch
The movie was filmed in Austin, San Antonio, and Dallas. The castle house that Preston buys was filmed at 1415 Wooldridge Drive in Austin, which is now owned by filmmaker Robert Rodriguez. The theme park in the beginning of the movie was Six Flags Fiesta Texas; several of the park's attractions, including The Rattler and Power Surge, were filmed in this movie.
Reviews from critics were negative, with The Los Angeles Times stating that what was "missing from this film is any trace of the joy in simple pleasures. Preston isn't a very imaginative child; he's a goodies gatherer." Janet Maslin of The New York Times said that it "looks like the best bet for family audiences in a season short on kiddie-oriented entertainment. And it's a movie that no parents in their right minds should let children see." The Chicago Tribune stated that "[w]ith its contrived plot, its MTV-inspired montages and its blatant shilling for products, it is film as hard sell, and it comes with a decidedly suspect warranty. Its mercantile instincts are so primary it looks like an infomercial." It currently holds a 13% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes based on 8 reviews.
Blank Check debuted at No. 3 at the box office behind Ace Ventura: Pet Detective and The Getaway with $5.4 million in its opening weekend. In total, the film went on to gross $30.5 million domestically in North America.
- "Blank Check (1994)". Box Office Mojo. 1994-06-14. Retrieved 2012-06-28.
- "MOVIE REVIEW : 'Blank Check' Fantasy Buys Into Materialism". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2012-06-01.
- "FILM VIEW; At the Polls, Ace Tops Schindler". The New York Times. Retrieved 2012-06-01.
- "`Check' Cashes In On Hollywood Greed". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 2012-06-01.
- "Weekend Box Office : 'Ace' Aces the Competition Again". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2012-06-01.
- Blank Check at the Internet Movie Database
- Blank Check at Box Office Mojo
- Blank Check at Rotten Tomatoes