It’s all in a day’s work this bunch of detectives in training. If you thought clubhouses weren’t cool enough for today’s kids, you haven’t seen Boathouse Detectives. Forensic science turns family friendly in this third feature by Eric Hendershot (Clubhouse Detectives & Horse Crazy). Just because every 11 year-old has a cellphone doesn’t mean these kids won’t get off the couch to save a little girl, Anna McKenzie, from being sent to boarding school in Brussels by her evil step-mother. Roly poly Jake, ladies-man Gauge, paint-ball playing foster child Max, and token girl Tiffany set out to find the sender of an SOS balloon message.
Why send the police to do a kids job? Isabelle McKenzie’s only hope of getting custody of her granddaughter and her late son’s fortune is with the help of four clever children. Poor Isabelle can’t find her son’s original will and trust, something Jake helps her remember by tapping into her unconscious, a trick inspired by wiz kid “The Brain.” Thanks to the “phenomenology of the mind,” Gauge travels his dream world to find out who was wearing the perfume contained in the letter.
These tween sleuths stand in a long line of movie adventurers under 18 years old like Stand by Me, Dennis the Menace, Leave it to Beaver the movie, Spy Kids, and Warriors of Virtue. Boathouse pulls out every trick in the coming of age movie repertoire. It’s big on heart with plenty of clues to crack and enough gags, gadgetry, and militaristic action to beef up your usual plot. Pop some popcorn with your eight-year-old and watch in youthful suspense.
Purchase Boathouse Detectives on DVD March 15 from MTI Home Video.