Catch That Kid

One short week after The Perfect Score arrived in theaters comes Catch That Kid. It appears that amoral teenagers were not enough, so here come amoral tweeners. Instead of breaking into ETS to steal the answers to the SAT, the kids here are breaking into a bank to steal $250,000 for an operation. The point of Catch That Kid was probably to make another film in the vein of the Spy Kids or Agent Cody Banks franchises, where kids can accomplish basically anything. Unlike those films, Catch That Kid takes place with perfectly ordinary kids, so nobody can suspend their disbelief at what happens on screen. What results is essentially a film that says it is okay to steal money if the money is for a good purpose. This is not necessarily a bad thing, but when a film is aimed squarely at kids, it becomes a problem. There is a moral at the end, but it doesn't make any sense and offers no lesson for anybody. Its worst offense is that it is just not that interesting.

It's a strange film for director Bart Freundlich (World Traveler, The Myth of the Fingerprints), who usually opts for more intimate, thought-provoking movies. Where exactly did this kiddie action flick come from? Screenwriters Michael Brandt and Derek Haas (2 Fast 2 Furious) adapted the screenplay from the Danish film Klatretosen. It is pretty much devoid of anything interesting. The pacing is quick, and the film is mercifully short, so it isn't as bad as it could have been. But things look really bad for Maddy (Kristen Stewart, Cold Creek Manor, Panic Room). She likes to climb rocks like her father, but her mother hates it. She learned her love of the sport from her father Tom (Sam Robards, Life as a House, AI), who used to climb rocks until an injury sidelined him. Now he owns a go-kart track. Her mother Molly (Jennifer Beals, Runaway Jury, Roger Dodger) designs security systems.

Tom's old injury rears its ugly head putting him in the hospital. He needs the money for an operation, but the family cannot afford it. Of course, the only thing left to do is for Maddy to trick her friends Austin (Corbin Bleu, Galaxy Quest, Mystery Men) and Gus (Max Thieriot) to break into the bank where Molly is currently finishing up a security system. She will need Austin's computer skills, Gus' ability to tinker with go-karts, and will have to climb 100 feet up to a vault suspended in the air. This is more than twice as high as she has ever climbed before.

Stewart has proven to be an interesting actress, especially in the roles she has chosen thus far. Like Freundlich, this movie comes out of nowhere, and doesn't do her, or anybody else, much good. All of the adults fall into two categories; either the kind, understanding parents or everybody else, who is a bumbling idiot. This is mainly to make the children in the audience laugh, and it probably will. In fact, they will probably like the movie because it has kids racing around the streets of Los Angeles in go-karts and breaking into buildings. They will like it, then forget about it when the next crappy kids movie comes out. Still, a bigger question looms: if Austin has enough money for some primo computer equipment, and Gus has enough money to trick out some go-karts, why can't they raise enough on their own for the Tom's operation?

Haro Rates It: Not That Good.
1 hour, 32 minutes, Rated PG for some language, thematic elements, and rude humor.

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