A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this movie has some crude humor and schoolyard language. Characters are in peril, including a car chase scene that might be too intense for younger children. Some children may also be upset when Maddy's father is paralyzed. The real parental concern, however, is the movie's apparent endorsement of lying, cheating, stealing, manipulation, and irresponsible behavior.
What's the story?
Kristen Stewart (Panic Room) plays Maddy, a young girl who inherited her father's love for climbing. He becomes paralyzed from an injury he received climbing Mount Everest, and his only hope is an operation that costs $250,000. The family's insurance won't cover it and they cannot get a loan. So Maddy decides to steal the money from the bank. Maddy, whose mother (Flashdance's Jennifer Beals) designed the bank's security system, gets a tour, taking pictures and getting the security code. Maddy's two best friends, Gus (Max Thieriot) and Austin (Corbin Bleu), agree to help her with the heist.
Is it any good?
The real robbery in this senseless movie is 90 minutes from the lives of the people who watch it. CATCH THAT KID is a movie about a child bank robber who heartlessly manipulates her two best friends and risks the lives of her friends, her baby brother, and everyone else in her path. And she's the heroine! What were they thinking? The kids do their best, the robbery has one or two clever twists, and there are a couple of funny moments, but the script is so fundamentally misconceived that it is, well, a crime.
The head-scratching moments just keep coming. Why put Taxi Driver references in a movie for children? Is it supposed to be funny or admirable that a child lies about physical abuse in order to persuade a sympathetic adult to give him the information he needs to knock over a bank? Should children find it acceptable to steal from a bank because the boss is really mean? And what is James LeGros doing as an inept security guard who gets knocked out by his own cattle prod-like Taser?
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about what made Maddy decide that it was all right for her to steal from the bank. How did she consider the risks and the benefits? A famous study several years ago found that when presented with a question like the one Maddy faced -- should you steal in order to get medical treatment for a family member -- boys were more likely to say yes and girls were more likely to say no. Why do you think that might be? Families could also talk about the lies Maddy tells and the lie her mother tells.
- In theaters: February 6, 2004
- On DVD or streaming: June 1, 2004
- Cast: Corbin Bleu, Jennifer Beals, Kristen Stewart
- Director: Bart Freundlich
- Studio: Twentieth Century Fox
- Genre: Family and Kids
- Topics: Adventures
- Run time: 92 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG
- MPAA explanation: some language, thematic elements and rude humor
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