A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Hidden Treasure of the Mississippi (also known as The Kings of Appletown and Adventures in Appletown) features the Sprouse twins of Nickelodeon's Suite Life of Zack & Cody fame as best friends who try to keep an innocent man from being charged with a murder he didn't commit. The man happens to be father of their friend, played by Victoria Justice, another Nickelodeon veteran. Mark Twain's Tom Sawyer seems to be the inspiration. A gun is pointed in silhouette at a victim. No blood is seen but a murder occurs. Boys are chased by menacing bad guys with a knife and a gun. A woman who drinks a lot shoots her gun at kids. Kids enter a scary funhouse of mirrors. A girl wields an axe at a man trying to grab her friend. Language includes "crap," "suck," "jerk," and "shut up." A character is an alcoholic.
What's the story?
Mischievous cousins Will (Cole Sprouse) and Clayton (Dylan Sprouse) are best friends who regularly sneak out of the house at night to do more interesting things than sleep. In HIDDEN TREASURE OF THE MISSISSIPPI, one of their late-night escapades takes them to the local fair after hours, where one of them witnesses a murder. Gold goes missing as well. When they realize a respected member of the community is framing the alcoholic dad of a good friend, they take matters into their own hands, investigating, following suspects, and dodging bullets, knives, and other threats from nefarious grownups.
Is it any good?
Victoria Justice and the Sprouse brothers aren't asked to do much more than walk through a routine mystery in Hidden Treasure of the Mississippi. Each actor has his or her own charm and there's nothing much here to offend anyone, but sticklers may be annoyed at kids who would rather not tell the police they've witnessed a murder because they could only have witnessed it by disobeying parental rules. This conceit grows tedious as it makes up more than half the film. Note that Mississippi is never mentioned, and no one speaks with a Southern accent. The only remote connection to either the river or the state is that Will is repeatedly asked to paint a fence white, like Tom Sawyer in the Mark Twain novel set on the famed river.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about why Will and Clayton decide to lie to the police. Do you think that was a good decision? What else could they have done?
In what ways does Will show he's a loyal friend?
The plot makes it seem as if the cousins are in danger. How do movies create suspense? Does this movie do a good job of it?
- In theaters: January 1, 2008
- On DVD or streaming: March 19, 2013
- Cast: Dylan Sprouse, Cole Sprouse, Victoria Justice
- Director: Bobby Moresco
- Studio: Naedomi Media
- Genre: Action/Adventure
- Run time: 93 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG
- MPAA explanation: for violence, thematic elements and language
- Last updated: December 10, 2020
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