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Treehouse Hostage

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Treehouse Hostage
File:Treehouse Hostage VideoCover.png
Directed bySean McNamara
Produced byDavid Brookwell
Written byScot Lewis
Jeff Phillips [1]
StarringJim Varney
Joey Zimmerman
Music byJohn Coda
CinematographyMark Doering-Powell
Edited byGregory Hobson
Distributed byBrookwell-McNamara Entertainment [2]
Release date
  • September 24, 1999 (1999-09-24)
Running time
91 minutes
CountryUnited States

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Treehouse Hostage is a 1999 family film directed by Sean McNamara and starring Jim Varney and Joey Zimmerman. It was one of Varney's final on-screen roles; he was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer during production of the film.

Plot summary[edit]

Carl Banks (Jim Varney) is a dangerous counterfeiter and escapes from jail. Meanwhile, Timmy Taylor (Joey Zimmerman) has a current project due on Monday and if he shows up empty handed he is going to summer school, simply because of his participation in class, and that his teacher and Principal Ott (Richard Kline) hate him.

Carl Banks tries to print some more money and finds one of the counterfeit plates but can't print any money when his crooked ex-boss and his cops, who are counterfeiters as well, catch him at his base. He runs into Timmy Taylor's backyard and ends up in his treehouse. Timmy and his two best friends keep him hostage in Timmy's treehouse so that Timmy can take him to school on Monday to ace Current Events.

However, keeping a major criminal hostage is more of a handful than they expected, due to the huge wedgies that Carl delivers. Until Timmy figures out that Carl is in the middle of a major counterfeit ring, Timmy & his friends help get revenge on the men who treated Carl badly (surprisingly, Timmy's principal is Carl's ex-boss who turned him in to the authorities), in exchange for counterfeit money, of course.

Timmy and his friends persuade his neighbor and rival Janie Paulson and her friend Angela to help them create a fake cash plate in order to lay a trap and Carl captured Ott and his men. The evil principal gets away, Carl is set free as the kids tape recorded them running into the counterfeit gang and it proves Carl's innocence. Carl is offered witness protection if he cooperates and he does.

At school on Monday Timmy's teacher doesn't believe his story until the police show up with Carl and arrest the principal for being the counterfeit gang's leader. As the school applauds Timmy and celebrates Ott's defeat, Janie kisses Timmy on the cheek. Timmy also gets a reward check for his actions which his dog buries in the backyard later that night.[3]


  • Jim Varney - Carl Banks
  • Joey Zimmerman - Timmy Taylor
  • Kristopher Kachurak - Buddy
  • Todd Bosley - Stevie
  • Mark Moses - Mr. Taylor
  • Debby Boone - Mrs. Taylor
  • Richard Kline - Principal Ott
  • Jack McGee - Nick
  • Christopher Doyle - Scalise
  • Aria Noelle Curzon - Janie Paulson
  • Cliff "Fatty" Emmich - Detective Nelson
  • Louan Gideon - Mrs. Stevens
  • Frank Welker - Kato (voice)
  • Vincent Schiavelli - Gardener (uncredited)


Treehouse Hostage was released direct to video in June of 1999.[4][5]


Critical reception for the film has been mixed. The AV Club described Treehouse Hostage as a "rather dismal Disney Channel movie".[6] Video Business was more favorable, as they felt "Harmless enough summer-vacation video fare, Hostage is bright and clever without relying on Varney's wom-out Ernest persona for laughs."[7] The Fort Worth Star-Telegram also rated the film favorably.[8]


  1. IMDB Record for "Treehouse Hostage"
  2. IMDB Record for "Treehouse Hostage"
  3. IMDB Record for "Treehouse Hostage"
  4. Booth, Stephen A. (June 12, 1999). "Rent Check: New on Video this week". Stevens Point Journal. Unknown parameter |url-status= ignored (help)
  5. Stack, Peter (April 25, 1999). "Go Directly to Video". The San Francisco Examiner. Unknown parameter |url-status= ignored (help)
  6. Club, The A. V. "Ha-ha-hostages!: 17 comedies that make abduction fun". The A.V. Club. Retrieved 2021-03-05.
  7. McClain, Buzz (April 19, 1999). "Treehouse Hostage (review)". Video Business. 19 (16): 20.
  8. Camp, Todd (June 11, 1999). "Treehouse Hostage (review)". Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Unknown parameter |url-status= ignored (help)

External links[edit]

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