"Even in the darkest of times, I'm drawn to this macabre sense of humor," the actor tells EW of getting through the scene.

By Omar Sanchez
October 19, 2020 at 10:30 AM EDT
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Credit: Courtesy Stage 6 Films

Warning: This article contains spoilers about The Kid Detective.

Once known as a cute wonderboy from The O.C. and Gilmore Girls, Adam Brody is switching up fan expectations in his latest leading-man role with The Kid Detective. Including belting out one of the ugliest cries to end a movie, but don't worry, he's still a heartthrob.

"That ending is brutal," Brody tells EW of where we leave off with his character, the man-child Abe Applebaum, at the very twisty end. "It's not played for a laugh, but there is an absurd nature to it that is on purpose."

Kid Detective follows a suburban celebrity sleuth who hit his career peak at the age of 13. Young Abe is swimming with clout. He even has his own office with a patterned frosted glass door straight from your favorite noir.

Unfortunately, Abe's early career craters as he hits puberty. Abe's parents, played by actors Wendy Crewson and Jonathan Whittaker, try to support Abe as he starts to realize how far behind he is compared to other adults his age. Both of his parents try to impart little pieces of advice to Abe every now and then, as made clear in the movie's final scene when Abe lets out a cry from deep within his chest in front of the two.

"They're not elderly parents. [It's] older parents who are sitting there gobsmacked," Brody says of the moment. "They don't know what to do. It's uncomfortable for them. They never knew how to deal with [Abe's] issues and trauma. They still don't. Abe is kinda alone."

The overextended cry acts as a release valve for the entire movie. Early on we see young Abe thriving, but decades later we meet Brody as he finally gets out of his dry spell after a teen named Caroline, played by actress Sophie Nélisse, comes to his office with a murder case. Abe is confident. After all, Abe's sleuthing skills are as sharp as ever. But, he never decided it was time to grow up and get out of his comfort zone. Abe is often seen out investigating his crimes by sneaking into closets, hiding under beds, and slapping kids on stoops for disrespecting him.

Yikes.

In a scene shortly after Abe meets Caroline, Abe is at dinner with his parents when the topic of his murder case comes up. The idea of Abe being able to solve a crime like that feels immediately outlandish to his parents, but they won't say it outright. Abe touts that he's solved over 200 mysteries, but his biggest one was back when he cracked the case of the stolen prom cash box. “You don’t have the experience,” Whittaker's Mr. Applebaum tells Abe in a cutting moment.

Kid Detective culminates in a twist-heavy ending where Abe learns the devastating truth about someone he thought he was once close to. "Even in the darkest of times, I'm drawn to this macabre sense of humor. Certainly, I have it. Certainly, Evan does too," Brody says of working with Kid Detective's first-time feature director Evan Morgan.

After the dust is settled, Abe is back sitting in front of his parents again. He hasn't necessarily solved the crime he set to solve, and his hero has turned out to be a monster.

Abe's cry is a performance du jour from Brody. The dad of two commends auteurs like I'm Thinking of Ending Things' Charlie Kauffman (and Morgan) for opening the door for more risky and off-kilter plot twists. "He's made some of the greatest movies of all time," Brody says of Kauffman. "There's so much brilliance on display in every frame in that movie."

The Kid Detective is out now. Watch the trailer above.

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