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Catch that Kid
2004 - PG - 102 Mins.
Director: Bart Freundlich
Producer: James Dodson, Jeffrey Graup, Andrew Lazar, Mikkel Bondesen
Written By: Michael Brandt and Derek Haas
Starring: Kristin Stewart, Corbin Bleu, Max Thieriot, Sam Robards, John Carroll Lynch, and Jennifer Beals
Review by: Joe Rickey

"Right now I wish that I had paid attention during Geometry."
Remakes have been and likely always will be a common occurrence in Hollywood. Their presence is reinforced by such re-imaginings as The Italian Job, The Ring, and Insomnia, three films that did well at the box office along with arguably improving on the original films. Another positive for Hollywood is that the concept is a proven commodity and less creativity is required because a new idea need not be conceived. That’s not to say that a remake can’t be entertaining, because, especially in the case of the three aforementioned films, a remake can make for rousing fun and excitement. The same could be said about Catch that Kid, a film, that, like The Ring (Japan) and Insomnia (Norway), is a remake of a foreign film, in this case Klatretøsen, from Denmark.

Catch that Kid tells the story of three ingenious pre-teens who make plans to pull off a heist at a financial center complete with a new security system that includes a multitude of motion sensors and other high tech equipment. Their reason for executing the heist is so that they can steal $250,000 in order to pay for a new type of treatment available only in Denmark (natch) after the father of the lone female of the three falls ill from an illness contracted as the result of a climbing accident years ago.

Catch that Kid admittedly does not have the most original storyline (It is basically another heist film, coming one week after another similar film, The Perfect Score) but what it does with a tired idea is worth noting. Chief among the film’s accomplishments is the fact that enough time is given to the planning stages of the film that the tension steadily mounts as one anticipates what is to come. During this period the film develops the personalities of the three central characters so that you actually grow to care about what happens to them as the film progresses. The film utilizes much in the way of humor to make the proceedings seem lighter and more kid friendly. Thankfully, the humor can be appreciated by all ages and doesn’t go the route of grossing the viewer out as a way of garnering laughs.

Once the film becomes all about the heist it keeps the events moving at a fast clip. The heist portion of the film also is thankfully not dumbed down in order to pander to a younger audience. In fact, while there are a few questionable moments that make you wonder why the characters don’t choose an obviously easier solution, the heist pulled off in Catch that Kid is as intricately staged and as exciting as any more “adult” heist film. The best moments during the heist include a pulse-pounding moment involving a character hanging more than fifty feet off the ground as they try and disengage the lock on the suspended safe. There also has to be something said about a tightly edited go-kart versus police car chase that involves a run-in with a semi truck and more. Of course, if the performances weren’t up to par, all would be for naught. Thankfully, they are up to the task.

In the first lead role of her young career Kristin Stewart (Panic Room, Cold Creek Manor) gives an empathetic performance that comes across as very likable. This young actor has the acting chops to go a long way. While the performances as the other members of the group by Corbin Bleu and Max Thieriot are not as good as that of Stewart, they are acceptable nonetheless. As one of the few adult character in the film with any substantial screen time, John Carroll Lynch gives a humorous performance as an employee at the financial center. As Stewart’s parents, Jennifer Beals (Flashdance) and Sam Robards (Life as a House) aren’t given all that much screen time but do the best with what they are given.

Color me surprised. I went into Catch that Kid expecting a generic Spy Kids rip-off and was instead treated to a superbly staged heist film complete with good performances and sharp writing. Catch this kid.

Movie Guru Rating
An excellent film.  Among the best in its Genre.  Worth seeing in the Theater. An excellent film.  Among the best in its Genre.  Worth seeing in the Theater. An excellent film.  Among the best in its Genre.  Worth seeing in the Theater. An excellent film.  Among the best in its Genre.  Worth seeing in the Theater.
  4 out of 5 stars

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