#2. The Zoltar Machine is Still Out There and Must be Destroyed
Josh, being a good-hearted kid, would presumably hear about all of this (especially once police bring him in to point out Susan in a lineup). His only choice for getting the heat off her would be to just come clean about the Zoltar machine. They might doubt him, but he can easily prove it by showing them it works.
And then, shit gets real.
We don't know much about the Zoltar machine but we do know that if you can get a quarter in its mouth, it will give you whatever you wish for (or some dick loose interpretation that causes your own mother to come at you with a knife). It's difficult to say exactly what would happen if Josh told the police about the machine and the government got it hands on a device that gave them literally anything imaginable for 25 cents, but we're pretty sure everything would go to shit, fast. Most likely, it would become a dictatorship run by the first corrupt person to come in contact with the machine.
As long as they had the physical dexterity of a small boy.
Then again, perhaps Josh comes up with a great explanation for everything and keeps the Zoltar to himself. Then we're dealing with a 13-year-old, who probably doesn't even know what "ethics" means, who has carte blanche on whatever, and that sounds just as bad.
But hey, maybe Josh would be too freaked out by what happened last time to try making anymore wishes. Maybe he covers it up, and tells the cops the machine was lost or destroyed. That still leaves the world open to a shitstorm. Remember, all it takes is one psychopath with a quarter, to stumble upon the machine and blow up the universe.
The only power he respects is the mighty quarter.
No, the only truly safe, responsible thing for Josh to do is to actually destroy the machine, before it has a chance to wreak havoc on the unsuspecting populous. And we're guessing a machine that can turn you into Tom Hanks at a whim, won't go down without a fight.
#1. Josh's Childhood -- and Life -- is ruined
But even if he does destroy the Zoltar, he's still facing an awful life. Josh has already had a killer job, an adult relationship, and his own place. He knows for a fact that he can do just fine in the real world -- better than his parents in fact. What motivation does he have to every listen to anything any adult ever says to him again? What does he have to learn from his parents? Or school, for that matter?
He's going to resent them every time they tell him what to do and all his adolescent relationships will be unfulfilling. When he finally gets back to adulthood he'll be so jaded, he won't have the child-like edge that got him ahead the first time around. It's likely he'll find himself so disillusioned with life that he'll see a psychiatrist who will then diagnose him with delusions when he tells her about the time an arcade game turned him into an adult overnight and he spent six weeks as the vice-president of a toy company. He'll grow into an incredibly dysfunctional human being (who now matches the physical description of an at-large kidnapper who apparently doesn't age).
Thanks, plastic surgery!
Add it all together and a hypothetical Big sequel could range from Leaving Las Vegas-depressing (featuring a traumatized Josh Baskin) to downright apocalyptic (with governments competing to get their hands on the Zoltar to use as a WMD).
Either way, this film has to be a candidate for worst ending in movie history. Was banging Elizabeth Perkins really worth it?
Find more from Brendan Bourque-Sheil at his YouTube channel.