A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that though Mystery Team looks like a kids' movie, it is most definitely NOT a kids' movie. It's more or less a parody of a "Encyclopedia Brown"-style kids' movie, filled with foul language, nudity, and sex -- including some slightly depraved sex -- drugs and booze, and some violence, including guns, shooting, and blood. The three lead actors, who also wrote the screenplay, are part of a college comedy troupe known as Derrick Comedy; their videos are popular on YouTube, and most of them are pretty vulgar. Oddly, the three actors play naïve and uncorrupted teens who do not participate in, and are not even aware of, most of the bad behavior in the movie. They come out squeaky clean. Only older teens and parents who have seen one too many kids' movies need apply.
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What's the story?
Best friends Jason (Donald Glover, from TV's Community), Duncan (D.C. Pierson), and Charlie (Dominic Dierkes) have been running a detective agency since they were seven. Oddly, now that they're nearly through with high school, they're still doing it. While under pressure to grow up and quit their kids' games, they are hired to solve their first real case: a murder. The parents of Kelly (Aubrey Plaza) and Brianna (Daphne Ciccarelle) were mysteriously killed in connection with some dirty dealings at the lumber mill, and police are baffled. The naïve detectives' adventure will take them to a sex club, a drug dealer, and other shady areas; will they be able to solve the case without getting killed? And will Jason win the heart of Kelly?
Is it any good?
Mystery Team looks deceptively like a kids' movie, but it surprises right out of the gate with unhinged vulgarity, sex, and drugs. Happily, even when the shock wears off, the movie -- written by and starring the members of the college comedy troupe Derrick Comedy -- remains funny, thanks to the decision to make its three hapless, stuck-in-adolescence detectives totally naïve and untouched by all the depravity.
These likeable misfits wander, morally clean, through the dirty landscape, and each side is able to humorously comment upon the other. The movie doesn't exactly provide non-stop laughter, but it does have a fair share of titters and chuckles. Director Dan Eckman could perhaps have picked up the pace a bit, but at least the jokes don't stop in the third act to make room for the conclusion of the mystery, like so many other comedies.
Talk to your kids about ...
- In theaters: August 28, 2009
- On DVD or streaming: May 25, 2010
- Cast: D.C. Pierson, Dominic Dierkes, Donald Glover
- Director: Dan Eckman
- Studio: Roadside Attractions
- Genre: Comedy
- Run time: 94 minutes
- MPAA rating: R
- MPAA explanation: crude sexual content, nudity, language and some drug material
- Last updated: September 20, 2019
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