ninth symphony films - movie reviews

CATCH THAT KID (2004)


DIRECTOR  -  bart freundlich

RATED  -  pg

GENRE  -  comedy

LENGTH  -  91 minutes

RELEASED  -  6 february 2004

DISTRIBUTOR  -  20th century fox

OFFICIAL SITE  -  catch that kid

ESTIMATED BUDGET  -  $18,000,000
catch that kid - a shot from the film

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SYNOPSIS:
a remake of the danish blockbuster "klatretosen," this film is described as "ocean's 11" or "mission: impossible" for kids.




MOVIE FACT:
this film's title was originally, catch that girl.


MOVIE FOTOS:

picture from catch that kid

picture from catch that kid

picture from catch that kid

picture from catch that kid



RATING:


one out of four possible stars

Put simply, Catch That Kid is a weak example of a children's story whose basic elements have been plucked from the world of adults and placed into a pre-teen arena. The stories featured in films of this type always strain credibility, so the pressure is put on the child performers to make the impossible situation seem as if it could really happen. Child or adult, it is far too difficult to appreciate this film for the lightly entertaining experience it attempts to be, because of the poor execution of the story and the weak casting decisions.

As much enthusiasm as the child actors put into their performances, the script is simply not very well constructed and the plot really plods along with inefficiency and little ingenuity. When her father is in need of an experimental surgery that's only available for a very high price in a foreign country, aspiring climber and adventurer "Maddy," played by Kristen Stewart, decides to rob a bank to secure the funds necessary for the operation. This plot is a sufficient stepping stone upon which a movie could build, but it simply doesn't look like the effort was made to create engaging dialogue and characters.

Another element that is extremely weak in the film is the comedy and jokes. It might seem that humor would come naturally from placing young teens in a story that would otherwise feature adults, but that's not the case in Catch That Kid. It's not necessarily that the jokes in the film aren't original (and they don't seem to be anyway), it's simply that the cast is unable to push the dialogue and situations into the realm of the entertaining. Based on a successful Danish film called, KlatretÝsen, the film's idea had already been tested and found successful on the big screen.

And like minded films such as the "Spy Kids" and "Cody Banks" series have both brought impressive financial returns for their creators, but their success is something that Catch That Kid will probably never see. With only a few films on the market with this exact plot (kids who use sophisticated adult technology), the burgeoning "genre" seems already flat with this film, begging the question: should the studio have been so quick to put this film into the marketplace? Perhaps this entry into the genre would have been more successful if the right elements had come together at the right time (which happened in Spy Kids and, to a lesser degree, Cody Banks).

The root of all this film's problems stems from its dialogue and the way the film is propelled forward not by its character's problems, but by its plotting. Characters don't make decisions based on their heart, they make decisions based on what the plot tells them to do, if indeed they are required to make a decision at all. Relying completely on plot to drag a movie along is quite a common occurrence, but when the accompanying elements such as performance and dialogue aren't creative enough to conceal this flaw, the film has a tendency to limp along to its conclusion with no strength or interest for the audience.

The idea of a child taking huge chances to save his or her parent has been tackled by more than one filmmaker, and in the more successful ventures, the audience finds itself emotionally connected to the story and interested in whether the child will be successful. The viewers of Catch That Kid probably won't find that same type of emotional involvement with these characters. Despite her success with the film, Panic Room, lead actress Kristen Stewart is completely ineffective in both her dramatic and comedic attempts in this movie. Her co-stars Corbin Bleu and Max Thieriot, both of whom play the friends who help her attempt to rob a bank, also give rather flat performances, though whether this stems from their theatrical ability or from the lame dialogue is unknown.

Various of components of filmmaking, such as cinematography and editing are accomplished with the professional manner one would expect of a mainstream film like Kid, though it seems their efforts were wasted on the weak story elements. And things like the cinematography and editing, no matter how good their execution, aren't sufficient on their own to warrant a viewing of this film. It's rare that everything in a film can subsist on the visuals alone anyway, so no matter what the accomplishments of the director of photography, the set designer, the costumer, etc., the film's human component really prevents any mindless enjoyment of the film.

A weak effort on all fronts, Catch That Kid seems a hastily constructed fable aimed at young teens and general audiences that probably won't hold water with even the most unsophisticated viewers. Contemporary audiences, whether young or old, are intensely demanding of a film's plot and with the weak performances and flimsy dialogue, the film is utterly ineffective in its attempt to be an exciting heist film. Never mind the fact that the film won't fly with young audiences, it definitely won't interest anyone over the age of twelve, even if they have a vested interest in the genre.

Review by Kelsey Wyatt.


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