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1 review, 4 user ratings

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Catch That Girl
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by Erik Childress

"A Family Film? F@*# NO!"
2 stars

SCREENED AT THE 2003 TRIBECA FILM FESTIVAL: How far can you stretch the imagination of a child? When I was growing up, I used movies, books and blank pieces of paper to take me places Iíd never been before, no matter how far out there. The possibilities were limitless and Iím experiencing it all over again in the middle of the new renaissance of kidís films from Harry Potter to Holes. My interest was peaked at the Tribeca Film Festival when I saw that part of their family festival was going to include a recent Danish film that was remade U.S.-style and slated for release this very summer. The story: a 13-year old girl decides to rob a bank to help her father pay for a life-saving operation. Not appropriate for children you think? You have no idea.

Felony charges notwithstanding, the plot to rob the bank does not involve guns or hostages. Itís more Mission: Impossible Jr. than Young Adult Dog Day Afternoon. If youíre going to knock off the newest, most high-tech bank in town, its best to use what skills you have. Little Idaís is climbing. Local towers, sure, but with all the necessary anti-falling equipment and monkey reflexes to boot. Dad went after bigger fish, namely Everest, and nearly paid the price for it. Time has come to collect.

After dad collapses at the family-owned go-kart track (see, a kidís dream - the track, not the collapsing) the only thing that will save him is an experimental procedure in Seattle. With funds not nearly up to snuff and news reports every five minutes about that new bank, whatís a 13-year old climber to do? Well, címon, itís either that or start a lemonade stand and watch dad do the death rattle. Itís for a good cause. The authorities always look away if you commit a crime for a good reason. Donít they?

The moral downwind of a tale like this is almost too much to bear. No matter how cute, how clever or how successful our thieving tykes may be, this doesnít quite measure up to the fantasy of a Robin Hood. The story, in concept, is cute for a while, especially when concentrating on the crushes of her boyhood suitors. Those friends have some clever moments while preparing for the heist. But nothing about the actual Danish Job is successful. Itís kinda cool to play hide-and-seek against the bank employees and then execute a high-speed chase with go karts, but director Hans Fabian Wullenweber fails to generate any excitement or cheer-worthy moments forcing us to confront their actions head-on instead of being wrapped up in the moment.

But thatís not nearly the most disturbing aspect. Not even the American remake changing the title to cute-up the criminal angle (Mission Without Permission). See, itís not really bad, they just didnít have permission like crossing the street or going to the park. No. For a film clearly intended for families and then hyped by the Tribeca Festival staff, I was shocked by the amount of language in this film. Maybe thatís overstating it a bit. I was shocked by the amount of ďfuckĒs in this film.

The first time I saw it spelled out amongst the subtitles, about a half-hour into this non-violent, swear-free ďfamilyĒ film, I had to blink and look at the children around me. When I saw it again and then HEARD it verbally spoken (in plain English) six more times by the kids in the film, I couldnít help but think of the live translator offered to the parents for their children prior to the screening. Why? Just in case they couldnít READ ďF-U-C-KĒ the two times they didnít hear it audibly? Unless the translatorís job included a hear-no-evil, see-no-evil package, I would have paid to hear one of these guys quietly voice ďdonít fuck upĒ to a 5-year old. I wonder if along with the Danish-speak, they would be able to translate what Ida was doing tempting the bankís security trainee (her friendís older brother) with a kiss. Iíd personally like someone to translate to me why the guy looking twice her age was so eager to do it.

Far be it from me to tell anyone how to raise their children. I donít have any, but have always taken pride in trying to toughen the youth up a little in the unsheltered kind of way. The way I was brought up. But thatís just me. I love that the ďPGĒ rating is getting back (at least, a little) to its earlier roots where blood was shown and frightening images made kids cover their eyes and not keep them out of the theater. I loved the terror of Jaws and fantasized about hitching a ride on those spaceships I saw in my youth. I donít know how many kids daydream about robbing banks, but someone should catch them and give them a spanking.

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originally posted: 05/23/03 09:33:37
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OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2003 Tribeca Film Festival. For more in the 2003 Tribeca Film Festival series, click here.

User Comments

2/08/04 Joe This movie sucks 1 stars
2/02/04 Brigitte I enjoyed this movie. Full of action. We need to sometimes look at the moral of the story. 5 stars
1/23/04 Mette Christensen I think this is a very nice Have seen it several times, great movie!!!! The kids love it. 4 stars
6/11/03 Brannie Herez Brannie, This movie looks sooo bad that i wont even bother to pay for movie tickets. 1 stars
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