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Erik von Detten,
High-schooler Grover Beindorf and his younger sister Stacy decide that their parents, Janet and Ned, are acting childishly when they decide to divorce after 18 years of marriage, so they lock them up in the basement until they'll sort out their problems. Their schoolfriends also decide to do the same with their parents to solve their respective problems.Written by
The string pulling the chair away from the door can be clearly seen, as Mr. Beindorf is trying to break down the basement door. See more »
[bringing their parents to Grover's to lock them in the basement]
It took us over 6 hours to get them here, we ain't taking them back.
See more »
As the closing credits roll, we are shown the various family members in Hawaii hula-dancing, often in native garb or something close to it, singly and in various combinations. The footage ends with Chief Rocco (Ray Walston) stumbling out of some bushes with a set of night-vision goggles with which he tries to observe the rest of the cast (in full daylight). See more »
I loved House Arrest as a kid. The idea of a bunch of kids being able to lock their parents in the basement and party till they die is one thing that crosses a kid's mind every now and then.
Kyle Howard and Amy Sakasitz are Grover and Stacey Beindorf, two kids who have just been told by their parents (Jamie Lee Curtis and Kevin Pollak) that they're getting a divorce. Like most kids, the Grover and Stacey don't want their parents to separate, and can't understand why they can't just try to work things out. So, they come up with a new kind of anarchist therapy--they decide to lock their parents in the basement and force them to work out their problems.
A plan like that is pretty incredible, especially when some of Grover's friends get wind of it and decide to add their parents to the mix. And they don't get along too well. Grover's bully-turned-buddy, TJ Krupp, doesn't get along well with his father (Christopher McDonald) a loud mouth obnoxious attorney who cheats on his timid wife. Mr. Krupp consistently berates those around him, even while the parents are in their brief moments of enjoying themselves in the basement. Brooke's (Jennifer Love Hewitt) trying to reform her mom (Jennifer Tilly) so that she won't keep acting like a teenager. And Matt (Mooky Arizona) is using preventative therapy because his dad (Wallace Shawn), who has been divorced twice before on the second anniversary of each marriage, is coming up on his second year again. And, Beindorf's parents just can't seem to talk out their problems without getting into a fight.
While the parents are stuck downstairs in a cleverly assembled cage (sort of), the kids take advantage of their independence. A house party, a dinner party, etc, until Grover sees that things are getting out of control and their losing sight of their objective--to get the parents to fix their problems. They eventually wise up, and behave like adults, in a well-meaning, but wholly naive way to get the parents to sort things out.
The funniest moments arise when Roy Walston shows up as the former police chief and nosey next door neighbor. He suspects something's up at the Beindorf house, and the kids find themselves going to great lengths after a while trying to keep their therapy plans a secret. Russell Harper as the wild and crazy TJ is also a load of laughs, because once the bully, the other kids aren't sure how to behave around one another. Also, too, the kids start to confront their own problems with each other, which are normal problems that arise in the High School caste system. Grover, for example, likes Brooke but never admits to her how he feels. TJ accuses Brooke of being an obnoxious princess who never paid much attention to anyone considered below her status as the "Ice Queen." And so forth. And finally, whenever Christopher MacDonald blows his top as the irritable Mr. Krupp, you get some pretty funny sequences. There's just so much of Mr. Krupp one can take without acting out violently (but kid-safe violence...after all, it's a family movie).
It's a pretty good movie for kids. They'll likely enjoy the cast, though older ones could be old enough to appreciate the family problems that arise.
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