Russ Duritz (Bruce Willis), an "image consultant" who spends his time diverting public relations disasters, making everyone around him miserable, and being miserable himself. Duritz hides from his hurt and loneliness by working all the time, being thoughtless and insensitive to everyone he meets, and forgetting his feelings and that he ever had them. But he can't escape his feelings. Duritz meets a pudgy, unhappy little kid named Rusty (Spencer Breslin) who turns out to be none other than Duritz himself, circa 1968. At first, Duritz is embarrassed by his younger self. He says, "I look at him and all I see is awful memories -- memories I've been spending most of my life trying to forget." He decides that Rusty can't go back until he helps him. But he learns that Rusty is there to help him, too. Duritz has spent his entire professional life making over other people, with his first subject himself. But he needs to remember who he really is inside that image. Why does he have a problem with dry eyes? Why does he get so angry when people cry? What is it about his past that "doesn't want to stay in the past?"
What to talk about
Families can talk about the importance of understanding your past. Kids who see the movie will want to know whether their parents are neglecting their childhood dreams, and they may want to talk about what they can do now to stay in touch with what is important to them and to feel happy with themselves when they grow up. They should discuss what makes people mean. As this movie shows, it is often because they are insecure and in pain. Some kids who have experienced or observed bullies at school may want to talk about why kids behave that way and how to respond to them. Older kids may also want to talk about the difference between "spin" and accountability and the way that image consultants change the way that people feel about celebrities.
Rusty then starts asking Russ things such as if he has a dog named Chester, whom Rusty...
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