February 04, 2004 at 05:00 AM EST

Catch That Kid

type
Movie
Current Status
In Season
mpaa
PG
runtime
92 minutes
Wide Release Date
02/06/04
performer
Jennifer Beals, Sam Robards, Kristen Stewart, Corbin Bleu, Max Thieriot
director
Bart Freundlich
distributor
20th Century Fox Film Corporation
author
Michael Brandt
genre
Mystery and Thriller, Action Adventure
We gave it a D+

”You know what you did is wrong,” scolds harried working mom Molly (Jennifer Beals), admonishing her preteen daughter Maddy (Kristen Stewart)…after the latter has robbed a bank and led the LAPD on a perilous high-speed chase. This quasi-absurdist understatement reads like a damning bit of comic irony — but Catch That Kid is dead serious. (”I know I haven’t been there for you” is the next thing out of Beals’ mouth.)

Yeah, I’m guessing Maddy knew it was wrong around the time she had her young admirers (Corbin Bleu and Max Thieriot) disable the bank’s alarm system and arrange their go-cart escape. I’m guessing she knew it was wrong when she used her ripening tween wiles not only to secure the loyalty of her boy accomplices but to distract a security guard who looks at least 19. (Girl power!) ”Kid” seeks to ”empower” its target audience of recent Pokémon grads with an adult antihero desperation that feels preemptive and inappropriate. (Maddy’s father needs an expensive operation — thus, larceny.) It’s all fantasy, sure, but whose? That of the young audience it’s aimed at or of the grown-up children who made it?

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