Review: Amicable 'The Kid Detective' not your average caper
Courtesy of Sony
A title like “The Kid Detective” might suggest the optimal choice for family movie night, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Evan Morgan writes and directs this amicable, adult targeted, R-rated caper about solving crimes and life issues.
The title refers to Abe Applebaum (Adam Brody) who found success as a young sleuth in his childhood solving miniscule and harmless playground crimes for quarters. His biggest claim to fame was figuring out who stole a wad of cash from the school fundraiser, which made him a household name among the townsfolk. They even gave him an office downtown after bullies destroyed his treehouse headquarters. Abe assumed his fame would last forever, and then a major event shook up his world when the mayor’s daughter, Grace, ended up missing. The young detective becomes obsessed with trying to locate her and was defeated when he never cracked the case.
As an adult, Abe is dealing with much of the same issues. He spends most of the day drunk and hungover, convincing school-aged children to fork over $50 to confirm their scheming classmate did not practice with the New York Mets last summer. His parents (Jonathan Whittaker and Wendy Crewson) think it's time Abe move on and attempts to make an honest living. In many ways, “The Kid Detective” is about the spoils of youth and the unreasonable expectations put on those with gifted and unique talents. Abe never got out of his rut and most of that guilt and remorse for never finding Grace still haunts him. But he’s given another chance when local girl Caroline (Sophie Nelisse) hires him to solve the murder of her boyfriend who was found stabbed 17 times in a nearby river. After years of being ridiculed, this is the case that could put Abe back on the map, and so begins the redemptive arch of the narrative, which, at its heart, is what “The Kid Detective” is all about.
Morgan’s film has an earnest attitude towards the beginning of the picture, but I was surprised at the tonal shift that occurs midway through with Brody’s somber and collected performance the glue piecing together two solid mysteries. There are old fashioned elements sprinkled in, in fact I was relatively surprised at the lack of social media used to solve the case. After all, Abe is the type of detective who sneaks in the window and hides in the closet when the situation gets dicey. “The Kid Detective” reminded me how underserved the amateur sleuth subgenre is and when operating at full capacity can be a fun character study worth wrapping your head around. Sherlock Holmes would be proud.
THE KID DETECTIVE opens in select theaters October 16th
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