With an ever-increasing portion of our nation’s intelligence work shouldered by underage super-agents like Cody Banks and the Cortez family’s spy kids, it’s little surprise that a corresponding class of pubescent super-criminals is presenting itself. If they all turn out to be as competent as Kristen Stewart, Corbin Bleu, and Max Thieriot in Catch That Kid, the world might be in danger. If they all turn out to be as well-intentioned as that trio, then the world might actually be a better place. Then again, if they appear in films as dull as Catch That Kid, the world might soon stop caring about kids and their various undercover endeavors altogether. Bart Freundlich’s remake of a 2002 Danish film, Catch That Kid features a heist involving go-carts, remote-controlled toys, and modified XBox controllers. (Somehow, no one thought to work Capri Sun juice pouches and Yu-Gi-Oh! cards into the scheme.) The target: a bank with a security system designed by Stewart’s mom (Jennifer Beals). The would-be criminal masterminds are motivated by a good cause, however. Months after returning from a troubled trip to Mt. Everest, Stewart’s dad (Sam Robards) succumbs to a mysterious ailment that apparently afflicts mountain climbers who have recovered from serious falls. Naturally, the treatment for that condition can only be managed in Denmark, costs $250,000, and isn’t covered by Robards’ insurance, so it’s up to Stewart to solve the problem by enlisting her friends for some grand larceny, middle-school style. Happy to help, and more than a little smitten with the one-time Panic Room star, techno-geek Bleu and the mechanically minded Thieriot all conspire to get past robot cameras, Rottweilers, secret codes, motion detectors, and a wildly overacting James LeGros. This may sound like fun, but it isn’t. The film combines dour heroes with a drab look, and the string of “Don’t try this at home”-style stunts should underwhelm even viewers too young for James Bond or XXX. On the other hand, the message that committing felonies can sometimes be the only way to achieve family togetherness is a timeless one.
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