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Blank Cheque Review

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Having accidentally wrecked a small boy's bike an apologetic bank robber hands him a blank cheque to pay for damages only to find the little tyke has filled in the gaps with the words "$1,000,000".

★★★★★

It's tough being a kid in modern-day materialistic America when your mates have more money than you, and your ultimate fantasy, therefore, is to have more dosh than anyone else in the world. Such is the opening gambit of this morally dubious Disney caper about 11-year-old Preston Waters (Bonsall) whose bicycle is run over by a Jaguar driven by super crook Quigley (Ferrer), the kind of bad guy who explodes children's balloons with his cigar. Chased by the cops on to his money-laundering scheme, Quigley quickly dashes off a cheque to pay for the bike, neglecting in his haste to fill in the amount. Preston supplies the missing words - $1 million - and soon he's buying his own house plus lorry-loads of Coke, Haagen-Daaz, and the produce of any other firm lucky enough to get product placement.

Given the one-gag premise of music video director Wainwright's feature debut, this is a surprisingly not-too awful, if thoroughly formulaic money-is-evil fable that ultimately offers our pint-seized hero the same cringe-making message that befell Elijah Wood in North - that there's no place like home. The main reason for its watchability is a commendably restrained and unshowy performance from Bonsall, plus some amusing advice from the lad's slobby personal chauffeur (Rick Ducmmun).

While the script occasionally plummets to the nadir of un-funny, there are plenty of MTV-style pop interludes to keep the little ones from drifting, and a stonking version of Money (That's What I Want) by Zendetta that is reason enough to sit beside them.