Blank Check (film)

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Blank Check
Blank Check film poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byRupert Wainwright
Produced byGary Adelson
Craig Baumgarten
Tony Shimkin
Written byBlake Snyder
Colby Carr
Starring
Music byNicholas Pike
CinematographyBill Pope
Edited byHubert de la Bouillerie
Jill Savitt
Production
company
Distributed byBuena Vista Pictures
Release date
  • February 11, 1994 (1994-02-11)
Running time
94 minutes
CountryUnited States[1]
LanguageEnglish
Budget$13 million
Box office$39 million[2]

Blank Check (in the United Kingdom originally released as Blank Cheque)[3][4] is a 1994 American comedy film directed by Rupert Wainwright and starring Brian Bonsall, Karen Duffy, Miguel Ferrer, James Rebhorn, Tone Lōc, Jayne Atkinson and Michael Lerner. It was released on February 11, 1994, by Walt Disney Pictures.

Plot[edit]

Eleven-year old Preston Waters (Brian Bonsall) laments his relative lack of money compared to his entrepreneurial brothers and his investor father (James Rebhorn). His situation regularly leads him to humiliating situations including having his brothers commandeer his bedroom as an office for their home business, and being forced to attend his bully Butch’s birthday with almost no money to pay at Cliffside Fun Park.

One day, he gets involved in a bike accident with escaped convict Carl Quigley (Miguel Ferrer) who had just left a Zero Halliburton briefcase with $1,000,000 stolen cash inside in the care of bank president Edward H. Biderman (Michael Lerner) to be laundered and retrieved by an associate the next day. Afraid of drawing attention from the police, Quigley hastily hands Preston a signed blank check and flees the scene.

Preston is grounded by his father for not taking care of his possessions. He then uses his computer to fill out the check himself for $1,000,000 and attempts to cash it the next day. He is taken to Biderman, who believes Preston is the associate named “Juice” that Quigley told him he was sending. Believing this is part of Quigley's plan, Biderman fills Preston’s backpack with $1,000,000 in clean money and Preston leaves the bank just as the real Juice arrives for the money.

An angered Quigley sets out to find Preston with the help of Biderman and Juice hoping to reclaim his stolen money. Meanwhile, Preston goes on a spending spree purchasing a large house, a limousine service with a chauffeur named Henry (Rick Ducommun), and then fills the house with toys, gadgets, and electronics all in the name of a mysterious employer he created named "Macintosh" after his brothers' computer.

Shay Stanley (Karen Duffy), a teller from the bank, seeks out Preston and his employer Mr. Macintosh, after the realtor who sold the house to Macintosh deposits $300,000 cash with her bank. Shay, an undercover FBI agent investigating Biderman for money laundering, is suspicious of the sudden flow of cash that has come through Biderman’s bank and follows the trail to Preston/Macintosh. Denied a meeting with Macintosh, Preston claims that he handles some of Macintosh’s financial affairs and the two end up going on a business date.

Later, Preston throws an expensive birthday party for himself and Macintosh for which the party planner takes at least $40,000 in cash from Preston, claiming it covers the fees for the event. Preston invites Shay and Henry to the party, with many others showing up.

At the party, Preston learns that he only has $332 left and that he can’t pay the planner what he owes for the party. The planner shuts the party down, leaving Preston alone in the empty house. Quigley, Biderman, and Juice arrive and demand Preston return the money, only to find out Preston has spent all of it in six days; Biderman tells Quigley about helming the Macintosh name in hopes of inheriting the new life he was hoping. After pursuing Preston throughout the property when the latter tries to escape, the FBI shows up with Shay in time to save Preston. Quigley announces that he is Macintosh, thinking that assuming the false identity would grant him the new life he was seeking after escaping prison. However, the FBI arrest Quigley for numerous crimes they intended to charge to Macintosh, along with Biderman and Juice as accomplices.

Preston says goodbye to Shay and Henry before returning to his family to celebrate his birthday, now understanding that money can’t buy happiness and that his family is what matters most.

Cast[edit]

Production[edit]

Blank Check was filmed in Austin, San Antonio, and Dallas. The castle house that Preston buys was filmed at the Pemberton Castle (Fisher Gideon House) at 1415 Wooldridge Drive in Austin, a Texas Historical Landmark, 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.

The bank featured in the movie is in the historic Alamo National Bank Building. The bank lobby was featured and it has a 23 story office tower above it. The building opened in 1929, and today houses the Drury Plaza Hotel.

Reception[edit]

Critical reception[edit]

On review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 9% based on 11 reviews, with an average rating of 2.98/10.[5] On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 42 out of 100, based on nine critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".[6] Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "A–" on an A+ to F scale.[7]

Peter Rainer of 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."[8] 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."[9]

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."[10]

Kissing controversy[edit]

In recent years, the appropriateness of a scene depicting a kiss between Preston and Shay near the end of the film has been called into question, particularly with Shay's job as an agent with the FBI. Brian Bonsall was eleven years old at the time of filming, while Karen Duffy was 31. Concerns were first raised in an episode in September 2009 of Nostalgia Critic.[11]

In January 2017, Blank Check was made available on Netflix in the United States, which led many critics to review the film anew.

Observer's Dana Schwartz claimed the kissing scene left her feeling "totally grossed out" and Kylie Queen from WJBQ described the act as "borderline pedophilia".[12][13] In March 2020, the Disney+ streaming service came under criticism for not featuring the Love, Simon spinoff television series Love, Victor, deeming it to be "too adult", but making Blank Check available to view with the kissing scene still featuring.[14]

Box office[edit]

Blank Check debuted at number 3 at the US box office behind Ace Ventura: Pet Detective and The Getaway with $5.4 million in its opening weekend.[15] In total, the film went on to gross $30.5 million in the United States and Canada and $38.8 million worldwide.[16][2]

Year-end lists[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Blank Check (1994)". British Film Institute. Retrieved 25 June 2017. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  2. ^ a b "Worldwide rentals beat domestic take". Variety. February 13, 1995. p. 28.
  3. ^ "Weekend box office 5th August 1994 - 7th August 1994". www.25thframe.co.uk. Retrieved 22 October 2017. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  4. ^ "UK VHS trailer (starts at 2:40)". YouTube. Retrieved 12 March 2015. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  5. ^ "Unhinged (2020)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved August 11, 2020.
  6. ^ "Blank Check Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved August 11, 2020.
  7. ^ "Find CinemaScore" (Type "Blank Check" in the search box). CinemaScore. Retrieved August 11, 2020. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  8. ^ Rainer, Peter (1994-02-11). "MOVIE REVIEW : 'Blank Check' Fantasy Buys Into Materialism". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2012-06-01. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  9. ^ "FILM VIEW; At the Polls, Ace Tops Schindler". The New York Times. Retrieved 2012-06-01. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  10. ^ "'Check' Cashes In On Hollywood Greed". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 2012-06-01. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  11. ^ "Nostalgia Critic: "Blank Check" (Season 2 | Episode 40 | First aired: 15 September 2009)". IMDb. Retrieved 17 March 2020. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  12. ^ Schwartz, Dana (5 January 2017). "Turns Out, the Movie 'Blank Check' Was Actually Very Messed Up and Weird". Observer. Retrieved 17 March 2020. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  13. ^ Queen, Kylie (21 April 2017). "I Watched Disney's "Blank Check" As An Adult And Realized The Story Is Super Inappropriate". WJBQ. Retrieved 17 March 2020. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  14. ^ Wakefield, Lily (16 March 2020). "Disney+ won't show the Love, Simon spinoff, but it will let you watch this 90s film with a grown woman kissing an 11-year-old boy". PinkNews. Retrieved 17 March 2020. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  15. ^ "Weekend Box Office : 'Ace' Aces the Competition Again". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2012-06-01. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  16. ^ "Blank Check (1994)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 2012-06-28. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  17. ^ Simon, Jeff (January 1, 1995). "Movies: Once More, with Feeling". The Buffalo News. Retrieved July 19, 2020. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)

External links[edit]