Every once in a while, the mood to see a movie strikes you. It doesn’t matter what movie you go see, all that matters is that you go to the movies, overpay for a small soda, a bag of stale popcorn, and watch something on the big screen. Doing this lead me to some interesting viewing choices over the years, like 2004’s “Catch that Kid.”
If you’re too young to remember, you should know that by early 2004, kid spy movies were all the rage in Hollywood. This was due to the success of the likes of “Spy Kids,” “Spy Kids 2: Island of Lost Dreams,” and “Agent Cody Banks.” Since those movies scored big for Dimension Films and MGM, 20th Century Fox decided to take a stab at the genre with a little film called “Catch that Kid.”
Or at least, that’s what 20th Century Fox wanted you to believe with some of their marketing campaign. But once you watched the movie, you quickly realized “Catch that Kid” is in no way shape or form a spy movie. If anything, “Catch that Kid” is a heist adventure movie.
“Catch that Kid” was directed by Bart Freundlich and starred Kristen Stewart, Corbin Bleu, Max Thieriot, Jennifer Beals, and Sam Robards. Pre-crazy Stewart stars as Maddy Phillips, an athletic young girl whose father Tom (Sam Robards) once climbed Mount Everest. He took a nasty fall on the way back down, which is why he discourages Maddy from climbing like he did. Her mother Molly (Jennifer Beals) also forbids her to climb thing. But Maddy is young and not likely to listen to her parents, and as the movie opens, she’s scaling the local water tower.
Anyways, Maddy has two best friends. Austin (Corbin Bleu) who happens to be a computer geek. Gus (Max Thieriot) is the mechanic at the go-cart track operated by Maddy’s father. And because this movie is aimed at young people, they both have crushes on her.
But this sort of thing does happens in real life I suppose. And like I said earlier, this was before Stewart lost her marbles for a bit.
Maddy’s seemingly perfect life changes one night while her dad and mom are dancing in the living room, he falls to the floor and says, “I can’t feel my legs!” It’s not the best dialogue, but at least he didn’t say “I’ve fallen, and I can’t get up!” We then learn her dad is paralized, and the condition is incurable, except for an experimental procedure offered in Europe that costs $250,000. This of course, is money the family doesn’t have.
To add some drama, Molly the mother is turned down for a loan at the bank where she has installed the security system. The bank president, Brisbane (Michael Des Barres), is the cartoon version of a 1960’s Bond villain. After the bank turns the family down, the kids decide to take things into their own hands. With Maddy’s climbing skills, Austin ability to hack into the bank’s security system and Gus creating mechanical devices and mapping out the getaway, they’ll break into the bank vault and steal the $250,000.
I saw “Catch that Kid” by myself one Wednesday morning. The theater was pretty empty, except for a couple of moms and their kids. I don’t know if the women liked the movie, but the kids seemed to enjoy the hijinks. I have to admit that I didn’t completely hate this movie, and thought some of the action scenes were well-made, and entertaining.
The film’s plot is pretty straightforward, and the main arc doesn’t get bogged down in a lot of cute kid stuff. Once the film gets on with telling the main story, things move fast. “Catch that Kid” even had an unexpected surprise: the getaway scene with the kids in go-carts was fun and creative, and im surprised the idea isn’t used more often in movies or television.
However, where the film falters is early on with all the melodrama about the dad. It’s fine to have his illness be the cause for he kids actions, but the plot about him going climbing and not wanting his daughter to follow in his footsteps was unnecessary. Had the filmmakers just said the dad is sick and needs to money for treatment, things would have moves along at a better pace.
This movie isn’t perfect, but at least it was better than “Agent Cody Banks” and a bunch of other movies from that time. Maybe “Catch That Kid” doesn’t have the flash of the Spy Kids movies, but it was still a solid piece of entertainment, and a clever heist film.