Hidden Orchard Mysteries: The Case of the Air B&B Robbery

Movie review by
Jennifer Green, Common Sense Media
Hidden Orchard Mysteries: The Case of the Air B&B Robbery Movie Poster Image
Uneven teen tale with cursing, stereotypes, and drugs.
  • PG
  • 2020
  • 89 minutes

Parents say

age 9+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

No reviews yetAdd your rating

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Characters impart life messages like not to "judge a book by its cover," that "life is what you make of it," and not to worry what others think of you. Teens can make a difference, given the opportunity. Adults sometimes misbehave, engaging in affairs or criminal activity. Lots of stereotypes.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Two teen girls find adventure in a neighborhood crime, using their own ingenuity to solve it. Some local adults help the girls in their efforts, but other adults are less supportive or are themselves involved in affairs, drugs, crimes, and intrigue.

Violence

A house burglary set to scary music opens the film, and a final scene involves a woman wielding a gun at a crowd of people and specifically threatening the two teenagers. The woman is disarmed when another woman punches her, and the male accomplice is also punched out.

Sex

Adult couples -- some married, some not married or married to other people -- kiss and flirt. It's hinted a man is gay or bisexual because he "likes the D." Women in the neighborhood all seem to find the Latino gardener, labeled "hot tamale," attractive; one married woman appears to be having an affair with him. A teen girl's mom teases her daughter and friend about boys, looks for boys under her daughter's bed because, she says, "I know what I was doing at your age." Men talk about women being sexy and looking good. One man says an affair isn't a problem if kids aren't involved. A teenage girl wants to capture her "hotness" in a selfie.

Language

"Damn." "Ass." "Hell." "Stupid." "Ho-ing." "God." "Lord." "Freak." "Fine-tailed boys." "Like the D." Lots of slang, leading one character to joke he needed an "urban dictionary."

Consumerism

Airbnb. Tundra. Police. Southern Girls Dessert.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

A neighborhood lady growing marijuana plants in her yard readies to light a joint and calls the drug her "relaxation." Teen girls talk about her growing "mad herb" and whether her nephew sells it.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Hidden Orchard Mysteries: The Case of the Air B&B Robbery is for more mature audiences than its marketing might suggest. Set up as a teenage mystery, with a welcome diversity in the lead cast, the film meanders into more mature material with innuendo, language, and race-based jokes intended to be taken lightly. For example, a handsome Latino gardener is called a "hot tamale." A teen, nicknamed "Wonton," teases her friend, "What Black person in America doesn't like Bob Marley?" A character jokes that you can '"take a brother out of the hood but you can't take the hood out of the brother." Other times, race seems blissfully irrelevant in a multiethnic neighborhood, and a couple touts supporting "Black-owned business." Local adults have affairs and grow and smoke marijuana. Some humor makes light of being gay. Language includes varying uses of words like "damn," "ass," "hell," and "ho." There's lots of slang, leading one character to joke he needed an "urban dictionary." A woman wields a gun at a crowd of people and specifically threatens two teenagers.

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User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byedrag0n2k June 17, 2020

Family fun, who-done-it, Diversity , girl friends having each others back , what else do you need?

This is a family movie, yes it has some light language (none of the big 7, no F-bombs) One scene with a gun , no shooting.
Awesome chemistry between the leads.... Continue reading

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What's the story?

In HIDDEN ORCHARD MYSTERIES: THE CASE OF THE AIR B&B ROBBERY, there's been a robbery in a house in the suburb where teen friends Gabby (Gabrielle Pastore) and Lulu (Ja'Ness Tate) live. Inspired by Lulu's mom to find adventure where they can, the two decide to apply their skills -- Gabby has a visual memory and Lulu can read through people's fronts -- to try to solve the mysterious crime on their own. In the process, they get help from some local adults while trailing the suspicious behavior of others. Helpful adults include Gabby's new stepmom, who Gabby's not yet sure about, a comedic couple who own a cupcake shop, a gardener, a librarian, and a teacher. The girls learn a lesson when they accuse an innocent man based on reputation rather than facts, and initially ignore a wealthy man for a presumed lack of motive. Ultimately, they solve the crime before the police, but not without first coming into some danger.

Is it any good?

A few humorous scenes and a sweet central friendship aren't enough to save this messy film. Hidden Orchard Mysteries: The Case of the Air B&B Robbery's tone is uneven from start to finish, wavering between innocent teen-led whodunit and adult comedy. Some of the humor built around race and gender stereotypes feels heavy-handed, and the drug references are unnecessary. Nearly every scene is accompanied by music, as distracting an editing choice as the random jump cuts that punctuate sporadic sequences.

On the plus side, there are some affirming messages here. For example, one young man who has struggled to shrug off neighbors' perceptions of him as a loser just needs a bit of positive reinforcement. But it's the two teen leads who save the film. Both actresses give warm performances as girls in that sweet spot between childhood innocence and burgeoning adulthood. Their supportive friendship and cheery energy are charming. Two other performances are also noteworthy: Carlos Coleman and Catarah Hampshire (a former Cupcake Wars winner) hilariously steal every scene they're in.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the saying "Life is what you make it, and adventure is where you find it," spoken by a parent in Hidden Orchard Mysteries: The Case of the Air B&B Robbery. What do you think that means?

  • Do you identify with any single character in this film? Why or why not?

  • Would you call this film a mystery or a comedy? How do those genres blend together here?

  • What do you think about the jokes involving race, gender, and ethnicity? 

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love mysteries

Themes & Topics

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