Twelve-year-old Maddy and her adventurous father have always shared a love for mountain climbing. Their hobby, however, has a disastrous effect when a devastating accident on Mount Everest injures his spine, paralyzing him forever--unless he gets a very expensive operation. Determined to procure the money to pay for his surgery, Maddy decides to recruit two of her friends, a computer genius and a mechanical whiz kid, to help her pull off a risky heist. They plan to break into the local super-high-tech bank, which holds a vault suspended 100 feet off the floor, and get to its safe. To complicate matters even further, Maddy's mother works as the security chief at that very bank. Regardless of what obstacles she faces, Maddy is determined to get to the funds her father needs, by using the amazing climbing skills he taught her.
The ultimate "don't try this at home" movie, "Catch That Kid" is a children's film about three pre-teenagers who pull a bank heist. Of course, they have their reasons. Maddy (Kristen Stewart), the precocious ringleader of the group, has a father (Sam Robards) in the hospital, in need of a $250,000 spinal operation that can only be performed in Denmark. Maddy's mother, Molly (Jennifer Beals), is a security expert who has just designed a fiendishly complicated vault for a greedy, cold-hearted banker (Michael Des Barres). The fact that Maddy's father is a nice guy and the banker is not seems to be more than enough moral justification for screenwriters Michael Brandt and Derek Haas, authors of that finely nuanced study in ethics and responsibility, "2 Fast 2 Furious." Based on a Danish children's film, "Klatretosen," "Catch That Kid" is the first mainstream studio movie from Bart Freundlich, who made "The Myth of Fingerprints" and "World Traveler" as an independent. Mr. Freundlich's naturalistic sensibility gets in the way of the film's broad fantasy elements, turning what might have been a stylized romp like Robert Rodriguez's "Spy Kids" romp into something a little too real for comfort. — Dave Kehr
2004-02-06 | Dave Kehr | Read the New York Times Review of Catch That Kid