Catch That Girl Script Review
"Growing up as a kid, I lived on kid's adventure films. Those films all of us at one time or another worshipped as kids and still smile at the very thought of. If I wasn't watching The Goonies, I was either screaming 'Hey, you guys!!!!!' at the top of my lungs or watching The Explorers while wrapping my brain around the possibility of creating a bubble that could actually pick a person up and fly them around at lightning speeds with the use of a crappy Apple Computer. I'm still trying to figure that one out to this day. As the genre's popularity waned, studios took less and less chances with budget approvals. With the popularity of Spy Kids (Robert Rodriguez's foray into the genre) and its subsequent sequel, studios across the land bought kid's adventure scripts and remake rights to foreign films of the same genre to capitalize off its resurgence in popularity. Enter the Danish film, Klatretosen (roughly meaning 'Climbing Girl'). With its overwhelming popularity in Europe in early 2002, Fox snatched up the remake rights, and thus the script Catch That Girl (whose name has since been changed to 'Catch That Kid') that I received came in to being.
Maddy Phillips (Kristin Stewart, Jodie Foster's daughter in 2002's Panic Room) is an intelligent 12 year-old girl with an immense passion for rock climbing. After sustaining an injury to his back while climbing Mount Whitney, Tom (Sam Robards from A.I. and Life As a House), Maddy's father, owns and operates an Indy 500-styled racetrack because he gave climbing up for good and wishes Maddy would do the same. Tom is the perfect father, well-known around the neighborhood, and admired by Austin and Gus (Corbin Bleu and Max Theiriot, respectively), two 12 year-olds constantly competing to win the heart of fair maiden Maddy. After collapsing one day, it is discovered that Tom has a rare syndrome that causes paralysis and ultimately death and can only be fixed by an experimental surgery performed in Denmark. To pay for the surgery, Maddy hatches a plan to break into a high-tech bank that her workaholic mom (Jennifer Beals from Flashdance and the wonderful Roger Dodger) works at as head of security and enlists the help of her noble followers, Gus and Austin. It's basically Mission: Impossible with humor for kiddies.
I had so much fun with this script. I was engrossed from the very beginning and was nearly cheering throughout the third act (yeah, scary, I know). It made me feel like I was a five year-old watching The Goonies again because I felt an attachment to the characters that made me want them to succeed above all. I wasn't dragged with them to the bank so much as I actually wanted to follow. There's a little piece of anyone in all the film's characters, so they're easy for everyone to relate to. It's simply refreshing to find a kid's film heroine who isn't dumb, popular, or wicked (Carmen from Spy Kids, for example).
This script is pretty funny too. The humor is steady throughout and is placed perfectly during times of mild tension. The comic relief mainly comes from Austin and Gus's constant attempts to 'one up' each other in a last ditch attempt to win the heart of Maddy. I'll give you a taste of the humor in this script:
(yelling over the dog)
Rottweilers respond to German orders only... Ausfart, Killer. Ausfahrt! Say, "Ausfahrt!" Do it or he'll rip your throat out!
Killer looks like he might.
AUSFART! You must respect them.
He lets the dog go and it races at Austin.
You've got to keep in mind that this is not a script relying solely on comedy. It's not out to reinvent the comedy wheel, and it won't give Monty Python a run for its money, but the comedy is good while it lasts and always entertains. It will accomplish what few of today's kid's films do, make both parents and kids laugh.
The only problem with Catch That Girl is its predictability. However, this is only a minor complaint because it is, after all, a kid's film. It's a crowd pleaser set out to entertain and induce laughter, not reveal the meaning of life. It won't give your life new perspective, but it will entertain you from start to finish. It won't win Academy Awards, but it won't win Razzie Awards, either.
I didn't expect much from this script because today's kid's films seem rather formulaic and pretty boring. When I read Michael Brandt and Derek Haas wrote the script (writers of the upcoming 2 Fast, 2 Furious film and Spyhunter, which is still in development), my expectations were even lower, but I was pleasantly surprised. A good kid's film appeals to everyone (unlike half the crap Disney pumps out), and Catch That Kid will too. With Bart Freundlich directing (whose major career achievement thus far is marrying the lovely Julianne Moore), I'm interested to see the finished product. With the right marketing and direction, Catch That Kid (again, my script is labeled Catch That Girl, but the name has since been changed) could be a huge hit. Catch That Kid hits theaters in July, 2003 and ought to give Spy Kids 3: Game Over a run for its money."
(Review submitted by Verbal. Who dedicates this review to Razzberry...)
That's all folks...