Problem Child is a 1990 American comedy film. It stars John Ritter, Amy Yasbeck, Gilbert Gottfried, Jack Warden, Michael Richards and Michael Oliver. The film was directed by Dennis Dugan. The film was the first of many produced by Robert Simonds.
The film opens with a woman leaving a bassinet on the porch of a fancy home; the baby, named Junior, promptly urinates on the woman who picks him up. From there, he is repeatedly discarded at various homes throughout many years by guardians who have grown tired of his destructive behavior—which includes demolishing a mobile home with a bulldozer in retaliation for his favorite toys being stepped on—until he is eventually deposited at a Catholic orphanage, where he continues to wreak havoc on the strict nuns.
Ben Healy (John Ritter) is a pleasant but brow-beaten husband working for his father Big Ben (Jack Warden), a tyrannical sporting goods dealer who is running for Mayor. Recently, he has discovered that his father intends to sell his store and the land to a Japanese company rather than leave it to him; when he asks why, Big Ben reveals that it is because his son "stubbornly refuses to follow [his] example" by adopting an honest work ethic instead of a ruthless drive to usurp. He would love to have a son, but his selfish, gold-digging wife Flo (Amy Yasbeck) has been unable to conceive. Ben approaches less-than-scrupulous adoption agent Igor Peabody (Gilbert Gottfried) with his dilemma, and Igor presents them with a cute 7-year-old boy, Junior (Michael Oliver).
However, Junior is hardly a model child; apparently mean-spirited and incorrigible, he leaves a path of serious destruction in his wake, and is even pen pals with Martin Beck (Michael Richards), a notorious serial killer called the Bow Tie Killer. Junior throws the family cat at Big Ben, who then ends up falling down the stairs, and the house catches on fire. Junior messes up a camping trip with the neighbors by urinating in the fire, and manipulating a practical joke played on the kids by their father, Roy. He makes Ben believe a bear is attacking the campground when it is really Roy in a bear suit. Ben hits Roy with a frying pan. Junior then goes on to terrorize his neighbor's birthday party, after Lucy, the snobby birthday girl, bans him from the magic show. Junior however wants revenge and sneaks a lawn sprinkler in her room, cuts off another girl's ponytails with scissors, puts a frog in the punch bowl, replaces Pinata candy with pickles including the juice, throws her presents in the pool and places fire crackers in her birthday cake making it blow up.
Ben seeing Junior is upset gives him his most precious possession, a dried prune that belonged to his grandfather (he thought it resembled Roosevelt), telling him it signifies a bond between two people. Finally, he displays his effective but unethical method for winning in Little League where he strikes rival players in the crotch with a baseball bat. Ben is having serious doubts about Junior, and decides to take him back to the orphanage. However, upon hearing he was returned thirty times, he decides to keep and love him, something no one has ever done. However, Junior becomes upset that his parents were going to send him back and despite Ben stating that he will not, drives Flo's car into her father-in-law's store, and Ben's bank account is wiped out to pay for the damage. He is on the verge of cracking until Beck (believing than Junior is the criminal J.R.)arrives at the house, posing as Junior's uncle, and decides to kidnap his faithful correspondent, along with Flo for ransom.