Making the Grades
Some kids know at an early age what they want to be when they grow up. Maddy (Kristen Stewart) dreams of being a mountain climber like her father, and spends all her unsupervised time scaling the local water tower. Her two best friends also have career goals. Austin (Corbin Bleu) is a computer wizard with a desire to make movies, and Gus (Max Thieriot) has a keen interest in anything mechanical.
But when Maddy's father (Sam Robards) suddenly becomes paralyzed due to complications from a pervious fall down Mount Everest, the trio decides maybe they will be criminals instead.
The problem is Dad's only hope for recovery is experimental surgery his insurance policy won't pay. When Maddy's mother (Jennifer Beals) can't find a way to raise the required $250,000, the kids brush off any other suggested solutions and decide to steal the money from the bank where Mom is installing a security system. Austin will use his genius to bypass the state of the art electronics, Gus will provide transportation to and from the building via souped-up go-carts, and Maddy will climb to the vault suspended 100-feet in the air. The one thing that may jeopardize their plan is when big sister is landed with babysitting duty.
However, doing the wrong thing for the right reason is not the only problem with this movie, although that is certainly a major family viewing issue. The script paints the cold management at the financial intuition as almost deserving to be robbed: A bank has no heart, just paper in a vault. The desperate daughter justifies her actions by claming she'll pay it back later. And consequences are never meted out for errant behavior. Mom is willing to take the blame because, "I know I haven't always been there for you, Maddy."
Fortunately, few audiences are likely to believe anything this film offers because the whole thing is so improbable. Mom's company has enough clout to land a multi-million dollar contract to supply space age not-yet-invented holographic alarm controls, but not enough to secure a quarter-million dollar loan. This perfect heist is planned in just three days with a few more sci-fi gadgets lying around Austin's bedroom. (Had he pawned them off, he could have made a sizable contribution to the "get-well" fund.) Gus' go-carts attract no police attention when they drive down city streets to get to the bank--and the cops can't catch them when they make their get-away. During all of this, including the secretive looting of the vault, the pals yell instructions back and forth. And did I mention the teenager who is hired to man the main security control center?
Nor is the acting very convincing, although in fairness to these young people, even seasoned stars would have a hard time pulling off lines like, ?Be careful you don't fall,? or ?I guess if we're in jail our parents can't ground us.?
Security guards that play like Keystone Cops with a taser and a mild sensual situation between adults, limit the traditional content concerns. But the moviemakers' hopes this film will depict how "ingenious" kids can be will likely fail to fool today's entertainment-savvy young audiences. Meanwhile, as Gus bemoans his fate if he's caught, with statements like: "They'll take away my X-box... They'll make me take out the garbage," I thought of an even worse punishment: They'll make you watch Catch That Kid.
Discussion Ideas After The Movie
Teaching ideas and topics to discuss about Catch That Kid.
If you had an ailing relative in need of help, what kind of fund-raising options could you consider?
Maddy and her friends perfect the art of lying to help them reach their goal. Is there ever a time when misrepresenting the truth is acceptable?