What...you thought the "Spy Kids" trilogy wouldn't spawn its own line of copycats? Puh-leeze.One can hardly blame the studio suits for getting all excited about this new concept: action for kids! Grab a few fresh-faced (see: inexpensive to hire) young stars, find a director who can cook up two or three action scenes, and bathe the whole thing in product placement and soundtrack pop-songs! Wow!
Of course it could be argued that the shapeless and banal Catch That Kid is a remake of a Danish film from 2+ years ago...but the original Spy Kids predates even that one, and it's painfully evident that what we have here is a case of a studio (in this case, my beloved Fox) showing up at the well just a little too late before wondering what happened to all the water.
Making the Frankie Muniz flick Agent Cody Banks look absolutely literate by comparison (not an easy feat), Catch That Kid is about a teenaged girl who ropes her two best (boy) friends into assisting her in a high-tech heist. It's all for a good cause, of course...Maddy's Daddy has a terrible spinal injury and will remain paralyzed until someone can produce a quarter million bucks.
Now, this girl Maddy is about the same age as my niece Nikole; Nikole cannot get a bus home from school without being 40 minutes late. Maddy has the abilities of a CIA operative, the physicality of an Everest mountaineer and the creepy feminine wiles of a (very) young Lara Croft.
So fine, we have virtually no semblance of realism in the movie. One could perhaps forgive a series of "gimme a break" moments if the film had an energy or an attitude or something else to draw your attention away from the half-assed screenplay. Unfortunately such is not the case. The heist goes off precisely as you'd expect, there are a few fart jokes and some moments of early-teen romance, the extended heist sequence is frankly quite boring, and the finale is topped off with a happy-happy veneer that makes everything seem artificial.Kristen Stewart, previously seen in "Panic Room", does a fine job with a mirthless and grating character, and one expects to see a lot more quality out of her in the future. This film will be a footnote in her career, a reminder of how impossible it is to find good roles for 14-year-old kids. "Catch That Kid" might prove entertaining enough as a rainy-afternoon cable flick (if you're under 16 years old), but it's certainly not worthy of an eight-dollar cineplex investment.