The Kid was made by director Jon Turteltaub. Turteltaubs previous genre films, Phenomenon (1996) and Instinct (1999), suffered from pretensions toward greater meaning where Turteltaub tried to say profound things but only delivered them in simplistic emotive cues. With The Kid, Turteltaub is working as director for hire and his style is perfectly suited to a formula Disney movie, which specialises in emotionally simplistic cues. In fact, Turteltaub delivers the film with a level of maturity that makes The Kid feel like it is pitched more to adults than it is to children.
The films greatest strength is Bruce Willis. This is the new Bruce of the late 1990s who swore off action movies and determined to prove himself as a serious actor. Unfortunately, comedy has not been one of Bruces fortes as witness the likes of Death Becomes Her (1992), Breakfast of Champions (1999) and The Whole Nine Yards (2000) where his comedic playing tends toward broad mugging. Defying expectation, Bruce does rather well here. In fact, his performance makes the film. He plays the tyrannical asshole exec in a way that makes one laugh at his outrageous meanness yet also warm to him as his exterior starts to crack. Certainly, he holds the screen a good deal more than Spencer Breslin, who gives an incredibly laidback performance as the kid. Between Turteltaub and Willis, the result is a rather likeable film.
(There is one part I failed to understand though the question of who the pilot character also played by Bruce Willis at the end is meant to be. We are left with the impression that this is the idealised version of who Spencer Breslin will now grow up into, having followed his dream of flying. However, the film then has Bruce Willis return to his life as an image consultant so it is clear that Spencer Breslin does not grow up to be a pilot. One might want to consider alternate timelines but the film gives no hint of such and the effect is confusing).
Jon Turteltaub subsequently went onto the huge successes of National Treasure (2004) and National Treasure: Book of Secrets (2007), followed by a return to the fantasy genre with The Sorcerers Apprentice (2010). Turteltaub also produced the post-holocaust tv series Jericho (2006-8) and the horror series Harpers Island (2009-10).