Reviewed by: Steffen Siegrist
|Featuring:||Kristen Stewart (“Cold Creek Manor”, Panic Room)
Jennifer Beals (“Runaway Jury”, “Flashdance”)
Sam Robards (“A.I.: Artificial Intelligence”, “Life as a House”)
|Director:||Bart Freundlich (“World Traveler”, “The Myth of Fingerprints”)|
|Producer:||Andrew Lazar (“Confessions of a Dangerous Mind”, Death to Smoochy, “Cats and Dogs”, “Space Cowboys”)|
|Distributor:||20th Century Fox|
“Catch That Kid” is a fun, entertaining little movie with enough action to hold a child’s attention, enough bumbling adults to keep him or her amused and enough real-life situations to make the plot almost believable, at least for its target audience.
As with all movies written for children there are lessons to be learned. Unfortunately, the lessons in this film, while laudable are inherently flawed in the way they are presented.
The movie attempts to emphasize the importance of love of family, loyalty to friends and overcoming adversity. Where it falls short is that it presents these values as achieved by lying and conning not only strangers, but those closest to you.
The major characters are Maddy, a skilled climber, her friends, Gus, a mechanical marvel and Austin, a computer genius. Maddy’s mother, a Security Systems Designer for a large bank is gone most of the time. Her father, a good man from whom she gets her love for climbing, runs the local go-kart track.
The movie’s plot is not too complicated for children to grasp. Maddy’s dad suffers a sudden paralysis from a mountain climbing accident years earlier. Only an experimental operation in Sweden can restore the use of his legs. The cost of the operation is so high that Maddy enlists the help of her friends to rob the bank for which her mother has designed a security system.
Some of the plot elements are difficult to believe until one remembers the movie is written for children. Only in a child’s world would the senior vice president of a major financial institution reveal the security system’s access code to impress a pre-teen girl or an administrative assistant give away an expensive scale model of its building so that a little boy would have a suitable visual aid for a class project.
Using their individual skills and talents Maddy and her friends are able to devise a plan and assemble the equipment needed to break into the bank’s vault and steal the money necessary to pay for her dad’s operation.
The writers deserve a pat on the back for managing to keep the majority of the plot devises “clean.” There is an exciting chase scene with the police in which the only damage sustained is a set of tires on a police car. No one gets injured. No children are put into any sexually compromising situations. The only real villain in the movie, the bank president, reaps the justice due his heartlessness. The bank’s chief security guard, who unfortunately represents uniformed authority, is a bumbling fool who gets a much deserved taste of his beloved stun gun.
While there is no direct mention of God, Maddy’s father does credit “Someone or Something” with saving his life during his mountain climbing accident.
Overall, this is not a bad movie. Its only real flaw is that the major lesson it teaches its young audience is that the end justifies the means. From its opening scene with Maddy staying out of trouble by lying to her mother, through each of the children’s cons, to the use of a convenient ploy by one of the bank officials, to keep the children out of jail, the movie’s bad lessons outweigh the good lessons originally intended.
Moral lessons aside it is a fun movie.
Violence: Minor | Profanity: Minor | Sex/Nudity: None