August 15, 2004 -- “Catch That Kid” is an attempt at a “Mission Impossible” type of movie starring kids, but done on the cheap with a no-name cast and a shoddy screenplay. It's not a bad movie, but it isn't good either, neither is it slick, clever, engaging, exciting or compelling. Wait for the video, and don't spend a lot on that, either.
The film, a remake of the popular Danish film “Klatretøsen,” has a 12-year-old girl trying to rob a bank to get enough money to pay for an operation which will enable her paralyzed father to walk again. The girl, Maddy (played by Kristen Stewart of “Cold Creek Manor”), talks two of her friends into helping her rob the bank. Her friends, Austin (Corbin Bleu) and Gus (Max Thieriot) bring traditional youngster skills to the job. While Maddy is a skilled mountain climber, one of her friends is a computer whiz and the other, a skilled go-kart driver (the getaway cars are go-karts since none of the kids is old enough to get a driver's license).
Maddy has an inside track on how to get past the bank's security system. Her mother designed the security system, and keeps all the security information on her notebook computer which she conveniently leaves laying around the house. Not everything goes smoothly, however. Gus and Austin both have romantic designs on Maddy and their jealousy threatens to split up the team. Maddy cleverly uses sexual politics to string them both along until the job is finished. Her manipulation of the two boys is ruthless and calculated. It is a case of the end justifying the means. She also employs the suggested promise of sex against one of the bank guards in the film. She also charms one of the bank's managers, Hartmann (John Carroll Lynch) and abuses his trust as well as her mother's. She seems to be a vamp in training. The story spends no time at all considering the moral implications of these manipulations, or of stealing money. It also fails to take more than a cursory look at the shortcomings of the health care system that led to the problem in the first place.
The characterizations in the film are pretty thin, as you would expect in this type of juvenile film. Most of the adults and some of the kids in the film are foolish or mean-spirited or both. Maddy's parents come off as decent adults, however, as does Hartmann. Maddy's mother is played by none other than that old “Flashdance” star Jennifer Beals. The paralyzed father is played by Sam Robards of “Life as a House.” The acting is O.K., but the plot is lame and predictable. The action sequences are mediocre. For a caper film, it lacks the energy and punch needed to draw in the audience. Neither the planning of the heist, nor its execution is done with the skill needed to be compelling. For an action movie, this is pretty limp stuff. This film rates a C.
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