There is a seldom talked about subgenre of films that I like to call "kiddie filler", namely those movies which pay channels like Cinemax, HBO, and Showtime "showcase" at times like Saturday morning at 7:00 A.M. for unsuspecting children who find themselves bored out of their skulls. The one thing these movies, many of which manage to work the word "KID" into the title somewhere ("Star KID", "Excalibur KID" and so on) have in common is that they all generally ... well, reek. Yes, more often than not they are pitifully inept.
So when I stumbled across this one on one of the Showtime channels in the unlikely 8:00 P.M. time slot, I was astonished to see how well made it was. This is a very good little movie; fresh, lively, and imaginative with excellent, unspoiled performances by the two child actors Brighton Hertford and Jameson Baltes.
The surprisingly intricate, nimble plot is about a couple of kids who play amateur detectives one summer in the hopes of collecting a $5,000 reward offered to anyone able to find a missing 17 year old girl. The girl and boy are best friends who have a great, unforced camaraderie with each other. None of the tiresome sniping and bickering that goes on in so many other films of this ilk. And they are given some wonderfully smart, observant dialogue, tons of it. In fact, the film is overflowing with it, much of it tricky and the two actors handle it all like a couple of seasoned pros.
I don't know how much of an audience these types of films get, but you hate to see something this good go overlooked. There's just an appealing off-hand quality to it - it makes you remember what it was like to be a kid.
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