North is a 1994 American comedy film directed by Rob Reiner and starring an ensemble cast including Elijah Wood, Jon Lovitz, Jason Alexander, Alan Arkin, Dan Aykroyd, Kathy Bates, Faith Ford, Graham Greene, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Reba McEntire, John Ritter, and Abe Vigoda, with cameos by Bruce Willis and a then-unknown Scarlett Johansson (in her film debut). It was shot in Hawaii, Alaska, California, South Dakota, New Jersey, and New York.
The story is based on the novel North: The Tale of a 9-Year-Old Boy Who Becomes a Free Agent and Travels the World in Search of the Perfect Parents by Alan Zweibel, who wrote the screenplay and has a minor role in the film. Despite its all-star cast and director Reiner at the helm, North received aggressively negative reviews (particularly from Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert, both of whom named it the worst film of 1994) and was a box office flop. It is often regarded as one of the worst films ever made.
A boy named North is listening to his parents argue about their problems at the dinner table. North has a panic attack, and begins to lose consciousness. As he does, the narrator explains that North is having difficulties with his parents, putting a damper on what is otherwise a successful life; North is a child prodigy, skilled in academics, sports, and drama, and is admired by many for his good work and obedient attitude, but constantly ignored by his own parents.
One day, while finding solace in a living room display at a mall, he is visited by a man in a pink bunny suit who claims to be the Easter Bunny, to whom North explains his problems. He realizes that his parents are unable to see his talents while all of the other parents in his neighborhood can. The Easter Bunny recommends that North tell his parents how he feels, but North says his parents do not deserve him if they are ignorant of his talents and appreciation for them. North then tells his friend Winchell, who works on the school paper, about his plan to possibly divorce himself from his parents. However, he decides to give his parents one last chance by giving them a phone call. When he is blown off by his father, North officially decides to divorce himself from his parents, hiring lawyer Arthur Belt to do so.
When the announcement of his divorce is made, his parents are shocked to the point where they are rendered comatose. With no opposition from North's parents, Judge Buckle gives North one summer to go out and find his new parents or he'll be put in an orphanage.
North's first stop is Texas, where he tries to spend some time with his first set of new parents. When North notices that they are attempting to fatten him up, they reveal that they want him to be more like their first son, Buck, who died in a stampede. The last straw comes when his new parents stage a musical number about the horrible things they're going to do to him. He is later visited by a cowboy named Gabby, who convinces him to look for his new parents somewhere else. Before leaving, Gabby gives North a good-bye present: a silver dollar that he shoots a hole in with his gun during a trick.
His next stop is Hawaii, where he meets Governor and Mrs. Ho, who also want to adopt him due to Mrs. Ho being infertile. However, Governor Ho soon unveils a new billboard as part of a campaign to increase settlements in Hawaii, which features North in a mortifying pose and are planned to be installed across the mainland U.S.A. Humiliated, North has a conversation with a metal detector-wielding tourist, realizing that parents should not rely on children for their own personal gain, and subsequently moves to Alaska.
There, he settles into an Inuit village with a father and mother, who send their elderly grandfather out to sea on an ice floe so that he may die with dignity. When North decides to leave Alaska, he realizes that his time is short, as the family walked during the six months of daylight and his summer is almost up. Meanwhile, North's real parents, still comatose, are put on display in a museum. Thanks to North's success, all the children in the world are threatening to leave their parents and hiring Arthur Belt as their lawyer, which propels Belt and Winchell into being the richest and most powerful people in the world.
North prepares to move in with a set of Amish parents, but is quickly discouraged by the lack of electricity (along with the large size of his new family) and leaves in a hurry. After going to Africa, China and Paris, he finally settles in with a seemingly nice family, the Nelsons, that treat him as their own. Despite the Nelsons giving North the attention and appreciation he has craved, he still does not feel happy and leaves. With the summer deadline fast approaching, North gives up searching for new parents and runs away to New York City.
Winchell learns of North's appearance in New York. With the support of Belt, Winchell plans to have North assassinated and passed off as a martyr. North hides from a hitman hired to kill him when he finds out (via a videotape given to him by a friend) that his parents have not only snapped out of their comas, they beg their son to forgive them and return home.
He meets a comedian named Joey Fingers, who convinces North that "a bird in the hand is always greener than the grass under the other guy's bushes". He drives North to an airport so that he can reunite with his parents. However, the children, who realize that North's reunion would neutralize their power over their parents, are unwilling to let North reunite with his parents and chase him down. He is saved by a FedEx truck driver, who sees himself as a guardian angel.
As he rushes home to his parents before the summer is up, North is finally pursued by a hitman as he runs towards his parents' arms. Just as he is about to be shot, North awakens in the mall, now empty, revealing that his adventures had all been a dream. North is taken back home by the Easter Bunny impersonator, and is greeted by a warm embrace from his parents. On the way home, North discovers a silver coin with a hole through the middle in his pocket — exactly the same one he received in his dream.
Why it Sucks
- The most famous when Roger Ebert criticize which he say's right here.
- Over-used Bruce Willis appearances as the Narrator, Easter Bunny, Cowboy (Gabby), Tourist, Sleigh driver, Joey Fingers & FedEx truck driver.
- Alan Arkin overacting as the Judge
- Badly jokes
- Poorly western music
- Product placement