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Three clueless high school nerds, best friends for years, call themselves the "Mystery Team" and solve neighborhood crimes - such as who poked a finger in a pie cooling on a window ledge - cute at seven but foolish at 18. Then, one morning, a young girl pays them a dime to find out who murdered her parents the night before and took her grandmother's ring. Using inept methods, the team lucks onto the trail of the bad guys. Can they bumble to success and a renewed reputation? And what about coming of age? Written by
Although it's incredibly silly, the humor is undeniable. Inserting the most ignorant, imbecilic and inexperienced kids into the most depraved adult situations provide some fairly unique moments, as well as incredibly unexpected laughs. The film is off to an odd start with an out-of-order sequence and introductions for the three lead characters that doesn't give much of an opportunity for accustoming to their extreme immaturity. But after the Nickelodeon TV show feeling, the opening scene gives way to an angry child spouting obscenities and the Mystery Team reveals a unique brand of hilarity.
Jason (Donald Glover) is the ringleader and master of disguises for the Mystery Team, a group of high school students who have failed to outgrow their fascination with solving little mysteries, including locating lost objects and tattling on children who sneak into movies. At the age of seven, their gig was popular but now as high school seniors, they're the laughing stock of the class. Jason's sidekicks are Duncan (D.C. Pierson), a boy genius who provides plenty of worthless trivia and statistics, and Charlie (Dominic Dierkes), the self-proclaimed strongest kid in school, whose feats consist of accidentally punching his partners in the face.
When a little girl approaches the group with the standard 10 cent fee and a case of double homicide, Jason immediately accepts, intent to prove to the world that their detective work is professional and mature (after all, their slogan is "No case too hard, no case too tough") and also because the young girl's sister is Kelly (Aubrey Plaza), a sexy goth who Jason can't resist. His reluctant team starts to gather clues, aided by the unquestionably unbalanced grocery store clerk Jordy (Bobby Moynihan), which will lead them to a seedy strip club, heroine addicts, a conspiracy-laden lumberyard, a cocaine dealer and dead bodies. Exactly the sort of thing this chocolate milk-loving group can handle.
"You're an adult now. Act like one!" demands the principle. Brilliantly, no one takes the Mystery Team seriously, causing their admiration for their own work to be that much more hilarious. The group can barely manage spilt milk, so their involvement with blood, human waste, naked flesh and loaded guns brings about a constant source of highly contrasting conflicts. It's also the only real problem the coincidences that grant their harebrained escapes, especially toward the climax, are often so unrealistic that they put a strain on the already preposterous plot. Despite the few faults that also include editing abnormalities, the film is surprisingly witty, and a worthy feature film debut for Derrick Comedy, a youthful five-person sketch comedy group made famous by YouTube and responsible for directing, editing, producing, writing and starring in Mystery Team.
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