Comedy Drama

Once a Gumshoe, Always a Gumshoe: A TIFF Review of ‘The Kid Detective’

September 19, 2020Ben MK

We all know what it's like when something doesn't live up to the hype, whether it's a film, television show, book or video game. But what about people? What happens when a person doesn't fulfill the unbounded potential they exhibited when they were younger? That's exactly the reality facing former child sleuth Abe Applebaum in Evan Morgan's The Kid Detective.

A one-time child prodigy of sorts, 12-year-old Abe (Jesse Noah Gruman) was once a promising pre-teen gumshoe praised by everyone from his parents and classmates to the neighbors and shopkeepers in his small town of Willowbrook. Fast forward two decades and the now-32-year-old Abe (Adam Brody) may still be dutifully operating his P.I. agency, but he feels like little more than a shell of his former self. Haunted by the one case he couldn't solve — that of the mysterious disappearance of the mayor's daughter, Gracie — and exhausted from what seems like a near-constant stream of discouraging comments from his parents (Wendy Crewson and Jonathan Whittaker), Abe is all but ready to call it quits. That is, until he gets a tantalizing new case from a 16-year-old student named Caroline (Sophie Nélisse), who enlists Abe's expertise to solve the puzzling murder of her boyfriend.

Bolstered by a terrific cast and a genuinely shocking twist ending that few viewers will see coming, The Kid Detective ought to please both mystery lovers and comedy drama fans alike. Just don't let the title mislead you — this is one case that's best left for slightly more mature moviegoers to crack.

The Kid Detective screens under the TIFF Industry Selects programme at the 2020 Toronto International Film Festival. Its runtime is 1 hr. 37 min.

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