Richie Rich (film)

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Ri¢hie Ri¢h
Richierichposter.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Donald Petrie
Produced by Joel Silver
John Davis
Written by Neil Tolkin
Tom S. Parker
Based on Richie Rich 
by Alfred Harvey
Warren Kremer
Starring Macaulay Culkin
John Larroquette
Edward Herrmann
Christine Ebersole
Jonathan Hyde
Narrated by Jonathan Hyde
Music by Alan Silvestri
Cinematography Don Burgess
Edited by Malcolm Campbell
Production
company
Distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures
Release dates
  • December 21, 1994 (1994-12-21)
Running time 95 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $40 million
Box office $38,087,756

Richie Rich (sometimes stylized Ri¢hie Ri¢h) is a 1994 American live-action film adaptation of the Harvey Comics comic book character Richie Rich. Directed by Donald Petrie, and starring Macaulay Culkin as the title character. Edward Herrmann, Michael McShane, Christine Ebersole, Jonathan Hyde, and John Larroquette serve in supporting roles, while Reggie Jackson, Claudia Schiffer and Ben Stein appear in cameo roles. Culkin's younger brother, Rory Culkin, played the part of young Richie. In 1998, it was followed by a direct-to-video sequel, Richie Rich's Christmas Wish. While in theaters, the film was shown with a Wile E. Coyote and Road Runner cartoon called Chariots of Fur. This was Macaulay Culkin's final film as a child actor.

Plot[edit]

Richard "Richie" Rich Jr. (Macaulay Culkin) is the world's wealthiest kid, the son of billionaire businessman and philanthropist Richard Rich, Sr. (Edward Herrmann). Richie has been raised with the best of everything money can buy, but with only loyal butler Herbert Cadbury (Jonathan Hyde) as a companion, he lacks any friends his own age. But he thinks he might get his chance at a dedication to the reopening of United Tool, a factory Richard recently acquired (intending to modernize the factory and give it away to the workers as a token of goodwill). There Richie encounters a group of sandlot kids playing baseball. Unfortunately, before he is able to talk to them, the too-strict head of security, Ferguson (Chelcie Ross), stops Richie and sharply pulls him away.

Richard tries to keep in touch with Richie and spend time with his son whenever he can. He even had the Rich family's head scientist, Professor Keenbean (Mike McShane), invent a machine called the "Dadlink" that pinpoints Richard's location in seconds, so Richie can talk to his dad whenever he's away on business. Meanwhile, the greedy CFO of Rich Industries, Laurence Van Dough (John Larroquette), is planning to steal the Rich financial fortune, believed to be stored in the Rich family vault. Van Dough, with the help of Ferguson, plots to blow up the plane carrying the Rich family to England. Cadbury, seeing Richie's loneliness, makes a suggestion to Richie's mother, Regina (Christine Ebersole), and arranges for Richie to stay home in Chicago with the sandlot kids for a weekend of fun. That weekend allows Richie to earn the friendship of the sandlot kids, most importantly, Gloria Pazinski. Cadbury also begins to fall for Gloria's mother, Dianne, who is rather plain-looking but very warm-hearted, and with a caring, outspoken nature which Gloria obviously shares.

During the plane trip to England, Richard takes the new invention of Professor Keenbean, the Smellmaster 9000, which translates smell into sound for a spin in an effort to find some chocolate hidden among the presents. In the process the bomb is detected, alarming the Riches. Richard is able to toss the bomb out his window, but it detonates, destroying part of the tail, sending Billion Dollar One into the Atlantic Ocean. Richie Sr. and Regina survive the crash and climb into one of the plane's inflatable rafts. Believing that Richie's parents are dead, Van Dough assumes leadership of the Rich corporation, and proceeds to cut the many charitable contributions the Rich family were known for. This includes closing the recently reopened United Tool factory, which the parents of the sandlot kids relied upon for their living. This angers Richie, who proceeds to the company headquarters and, as a living Rich family member, assumes the leadership position.

Van Dough, however, sees this as a minor setback: as Richie is still underage, his ability to run the business is limited by the powers given to him by someone who was able to give it to him – namely, Cadbury. Cadbury is framed for the Rich family's apparent murder, and the Rich family's other loyal servants are all fired en masse by Van Dough's edict. They plot to have Cadbury murdered in jail and make it look like a suicide. With Professor Keenbean eavesdropping on their conversation, he manages to sneak Richie out with a plan to help Cadbury escape from prison. After Cadbury gets the supplies (a greeting card filled out in Latin that the guard cannot read but a language that Cadbury is fluent in, to warn him of his impending doom, and Keenbean's acidic mixture, called "Hydrocloricdioxynucleocarbonium," which will eat through literally anything), he is attacked by one of Van Dough's ponderous henchmen; surprisingly, Cadbury shows great strength and skill for his appearance, and knocks the hulking goon unconscious, while suffering only a bruised cheek himself. He and Richie then make their way to Gloria's house, where Dianne tends to Cadbury's bruise, and Richie and Gloria use her computer to hack into the mainframe at Richie's mansion.

During this time, Van Dough finds out about Cadbury's escape and, with Ferguson's help, confronts Keenbean. They tie the professor up and threaten to throw him into his molecular reorganizer, which turns garbage into whatever's typed in (a bedpan in this case) on the machine's control panel, unless he gets them into the vault. Keenbean states that the lock is voice-activated and only Richard and Regina can open it. Van Dough, meanwhile, is still unaware of their continued survival.

Meanwhile, Richie was left with the Dadlink. However, Richard's tranceiver was damaged in the crash, and when Richard manages to fix it enough to send out a distress code, the signal is intercepted by Ferguson, who disconnects Richie's modem from the phone line, leaving Richie (who tapped into the Dadlink's mainframe from Gloria's computer) in the dark as to where his parents may be. After rescuing Keenbean from captivity, the kids manage to sneak Richie back into Rich Manor, only to discover that the Dadlink shows that Richie's parents are inside the Rich's house. He is shocked to discover that Van Dough had anticipated his own arrival, and had arranged for his parents' rescue. Held at gunpoint, Van Dough forces the Rich family elders to reveal the location of the Rich vault, while Ferguson and his men take Richie and his friends to the molecular reorganizer.

Van Dough is eventually led to Mount Richmore, where the vault is located. There, he is furious upon discovering that the vault only holds the Rich family's most precious memories and keepsake treasures – nothing that is valuable monetarily. Demanding an explanation, he learns that the Rich family keeps their money in banks, the stock market, and real estate. Desperate to get the money, he attempts to shoot Richard and Regina, only for Richie (who, along with Cadbury and the other children, has managed to escape the bombastic Ferguson thanks to Keenbean's helpful interference) to appear in the nick of time and interfere. Van Dough attempts to shoot Richie instead, but manages to barely faze him (thanks a special spray that Professor Keenbean invented which makes any fabric bulletproof). The Rich family manages to get away and the chase eventually leads them down the side of the mountain, where they are under further attack by Ferguson (his raw mangled face covered in pieces of fuzzy towel from the Cementia that Cadbury and Keenbean had used to adhere the towel over his head and prevent him from powering up the molecular reorganizer) and a special rock-blasting laser that had originally been used to sculpt the mountain vault. Cadbury finally succeeds in disarming Ferguson and manages to keep the Rich family safe, while Van Dough hangs upside down for dear life, after Cadbury blasts away the rock-face near him with the laser. Although Richard abhors firing staff, he allows Richie to fire Van Dough, who is then subsequently punched by Regina and arrested.

Later, Richie plays baseball with his new friends for the United Tool team on the Rich Manor's yard (with Cadbury as team coach and Keenbean as umpire) and hits a home run that's picked up by Van Dough, who's doing gardening with Ferguson as work release. Richard and Regina state that Richie now really is the richest boy in the world, as he has found the true treasure in life, the one thing that money can't buy: friends.

Cast[edit]

  • Macaulay Culkin as Richard "Richie" Rich, Jr., a friendly rich boy, the hero and the main protagonist
  • John Larroquette as Laurence Van Dough, the main antagonist and the villain. He is the greedy CFO of Rich Inc. who plots to steal the Rich Family fortune. He is loosely based on the comic cousin of Richie.
  • Jonathan Hyde as Herbert Arthur Runcible Cadbury, the Rich family's trustworthy butler, and Richie's confidant
  • Edward Herrmann as Richard Rich, Sr.
  • Christine Ebersole as Regina Rich
  • Mike McShane as Professor Keenbean, a brilliant inventor
  • Chelcie Ross as Ferguson, the Rich family's rude and tough head of security. He and other bodyguards join Van Dough to take over the Rich empire
  • Reggie Jackson as himself
  • Stephi Lineburg as Gloria Pazinski, Richie's friend. She shares the same first name as Gloria Glad
  • Mariangela Pino as Diane Pazinski, the mother of Gloria. She starts having a relationship with Cadbury
  • Joel Robinson as Omar, one of Richie's friends, kind of a wiseguy
  • Jonathan Hilario as Pee Wee, one of Richie's friends, a hopeless glutton
  • Rory Culkin as Young Richie
  • Ben Stein as Economics Teacher
  • Claudia Schiffer as herself

Production[edit]

Though set in Chicago, the house and grounds at which Richie Rich is filmed are those of the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, North Carolina. The roller coaster in the backyard is the former stand-up roller coaster Iron Wolf at Six Flags Great America. In contrast to the famous publication and animated series, a few characters are eliminated to accommodate the movie: among them are Irona the robot maid.

Reception[edit]

The movie received mixed reviews from critics and maintains a 25% rating on Rotten Tomatoes based on 20 reviews.[1][2] However, Roger Ebert gave the film 3 out of 4 stars saying he was surprised how much he enjoyed it and though it wasn't the greatest movie, he liked that it had style and didn't go for cheap payoffs.[3] Richie Rich earned a Razzie Award nomination for Macaulay Culkin as Worst Actor for his performance in the movie (also for Getting Even with Dad and The Pagemaster) but lost the award to Kevin Costner for Wyatt Earp.

The film also fell short of recouping its budget at the box office, with a $38 million gross in North America in a $40 million budget.[4][5] It was however a home video success, with $125 million in VHS rentals.[6] Since then, it has become a cult classic.

Sequel[edit]

Richie Rich's Christmas Wish is a 1998 direct-to-video sequel starring David Gallagher in the titular role.

References[edit]

External links[edit]