The Kid Detective

Written by Michael Clawson

70/100

A 31 year-old private detective in 21st century suburbia, Abe Applebaum’s glory days are behind him. When he was 13, Abe was a hot-shot kid sleuth who could crack any case brought to him by the members of his quaint little town. But then, his innocent, soda-guzzling secretary suddenly went missing, and his failure to identify the culprit disappointed everyone, destroying Abe’s sense of self-worth and drive, and slowly turning him into the hard-boiled slacker millennial he is today. The film begins in earnest when an opportunity for redemption presents itself: one day, a sweet blonde teenager (a winning Sophie Nélisse) hires Abe to find out who murdered her boyfriend—finally, someone trusting him to solve something more complex, more “adult,” than where a lady’s lost cat might have run off to. As Abe unravels the mystery, the film’s tone proves to be wide-ranging: it starts with light comedy that’s dryly and genuinely funny, but takes a sharp right turn into much grimmer territory for the final act. Morgan’s visual aesthetic is quite run-of-the-mill, which tempers my enthusiasm for the movie overall, but I was charmed by the performances and amused by Morgan’s sense of humor. The great last shot is minorly crushing: proving your value to everyone else doesn’t necessarily mean you’ve figured anything out for yourself.

The Kid Detective Trailer

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