Awfully Good: Blank Check

Veteran character actor Miguel Ferrer passed away last week. While he's perhaps best known for roles in ROBOCOP, TWIN PEAKS and other films, I'll always remember him as the bad guy in…

Blank Check (1994)

Director: Rupert Wainwright
Stars: Brian Bonsall, Miguel Ferrer, Karen Duffy, Tone Loc

A child learns that crime literally pays.

BLANK CHECK is like porn for kids—a fantasy where a child gets to live out his wildest, parent-free dreams with no rules and restrictions. And much like actual porn, it has a subplot where the young boy fantasizes about a beautiful woman he meets…and actually gets to have an incredibly creepy romantic relationship with her.

Did I mention that this is a Disney movie?

This guy f*cks.

Child actor Brian Bonsall (who you may remember from Family Ties and who looks like this now) plays lucky bastard Preston Waters, a money-obsessed 10 year old who wants to be wealthy without actually doing anything to earn it. Actually that's not true; Preston is willing to commit forgery, check fraud, and grand theft in order to get rich. And for some reason Walt Disney Studios thinks these are qualities worth rewarding by giving his character a million dollars of other people's money to spend on toys and women.

"Bitches left?"

The plot mechanics involved in getting Preston his money are hilariously ludicrous, even for a kids movie. The late Miguel Ferrer stars as Carl Quigley, a thief who's escaped from prison and has a giant stack of cash he needs laundered. He goes to his accomplice at the bank and says he will send his friend Juice with a check for $1 million to pick up the money, because having a man named Juice handle your financial transactions is much less sketchy. Unfortunately, as he's leaving, Quigley runs over Preston's bike with his car, and not wanting to cause a scene, signs a blank check and tells the kid to fill in the cost of the bike himself. Of course Preston Waters, being a total asshole, immediately runs home and fills out the check for $1 million dollars. And in perhaps the greatest coincidence in recorded cinema, the next day Preston just so happens to bring a check from Quigley for the right amount to the same bank at exactly the right time to exactly the right person, and gets to walk out with a Jansport full of cash.

"Excuse me, can I interest you in some Funky Cold Medina?"

It's a stupid, stupid premise in the grand tradition of 90s live-action Disney movies, but it gets even worse. Instead of lying low to protect the enormous amount of money he just stole, Preston immediately buys a giant castle down the street from his parents, hires a limo driver who oddly does not question why an unattended minor has so much money, and goes on an epic shopping spree. Director Rupert Wainwright got his start directing M.C. Hammer music videos and BLANK CHECK is full of cheesy music montages showing exactly how Preston is spending his unearned dough—a full-size water park slide, backyard go-kart racetrack, bungee jumping station, batting cage, inflatable obstacle course, boxing rings, arcade, virtual reality system and much, much more. How is a little kid able to purchase real estate and hire an army of construction workers? Product placement, of course! With his trusty Macintosh Performa 600 desktop computer, Preston creates an adult persona named Mr. Mactintosh and is able to trick his friends, family and the authorities.

You're right; it doesn't make any sense.

Because "ass to mouth" wouldn't be appropriate for a Disney movie.

Perhaps the most memorable part of BLANK CHECK, however, is the super inappropriate romantic subplot between a young boy and an adult woman. I didn't notice it as a kid, but watching the movie now…oh, boy. Karen Duffy plays Shay, an undercover FBI agent working at the bank. Preston has a crush on Shay and, since money can buy anything, decides to pursue her. (His limo driver, played by Rick Ducommon from THE BURBS, actually gives the 10 year old advice on how to score on his first date.) Thinking Preston can lead her to the elusive Mr. Macintosh, Shay agrees to a date, but soon finds herself actually falling for a child. He wines and dines her at a fancy French restaurant. He gives her expensive jewelry, which she accepts. They even share a sensual scene running through a fountain, with Shay constantly hugging and flashing Preston in her soaked minidress, that's followed by awkward sexual tension in their limousine. All of this is shot and scored like a typical romantic comedy. It's so wrong and discomforting that it's almost unfathomable nobody pointed out during production, "Hey, this might not be a great idea…" Even in the end, when Shay's real identity is revealed, it somehow gets more creepy:

Preston: You mean our date was just for your job?
Shay: It started out like that… but I wouldn't have traded that night for anything.

She then tells him to call her in ten years and he talks her down to six. (WHY ARE YOU NEGOTIATING THE TERMS OF YOUR STATUTORY RAPE?!) Then, like any other romantic movie, they go in for a slow kiss and despite the fact that she's an FBI agent and he is literally a child, she kisses him full on the lips… in public, in front of everyone she works with AND his parents. I know this is just a movie, but I still felt like calling Child Protective Services on Preston's behalf.


And in case you're wondering, Preston suffers zero consequences at the end of the movie, managing to pin everything he did as Mr. Macintosh on Quigley and hide everything he did from his parents. Thanks for filling my childhood with unobtainable expectations, Disney!

BUTT TO FACE! BUTT TO FACE! Also, Preston's wannabe-comedian limo driver.

Enjoy the best of the creepy statutory romance, an epic 90s montage, and other goofy moments.

Karen Duffy gets wet.

Feeling nostalgic and got some money to spare? Buy this movie here!

Take a shot or drink every time:
  • There's a montage
  • There's product placement
  • Preston's dad is a jerk
  • Someone asks to see Mr. Macintosh
  • Someone says the name of the movie
Double shot if:
  • You're creeped out by Preston and Shay's relationship

Thanks to Keith and Jennifer for suggesting this week's movie!

Seen a movie that should be featured on this column? Shoot Jason an email or follow him on Twitter and give him an excuse to drink.

Extra Tidbit: The castle-style house that Preston buys in this movie is now owned by director Robert Rodriguez and home to his Troublemaker Studios.
Source: JoBlo.com



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