MTI // 2010 // 65 Minutes // Rated G
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // March 17th, 2011
If you're in danger, call the professionals.
And by "professionals," I mean "goofy kids hanging around in a dilapidated boathouse."
The Boathouse Detectives are led by an enterprising young sleuth named Gage. One day he stumbles upon a message attached to a balloon: apparently a young girl named Anna is in a real bad place. His stepmother who -- believe it or not -- happens to be wicked, has threatened to send Anna's dog to the pound and ship Anna off to boarding school.
Intent on helping Anna out instead of calling DCFS or something else practical, Gage gathers his friends at their buoyant clubhouse to get to the bottom of this mystery. After much detective work, they eventually settle on their course of action: felony breaking and entering!
So, how bored are your kids? If they're literally sitting in their bedrooms staring at the wall, then perhaps they're at the correct tedium level to enjoy Boathouse Detectives, a mediocre if earnest family adventure that will no doubt be lost to the ether.
It's always a touchy endeavor to pick on kids entertainment and I don't mean to deny some wired nine-year-old an engaging 90 minutes of digital tomfoolery, but this film did absolutely nothing for me.
I know I'm not the target audience. I also know that I've reviewed countless family films during my tenure here at Verdict and there's a clear delineation between clever, creative fare and so-so, uninspired efforts. Boathouse Detectives falls firmly into that second camp. It's inoffensive and benign, but free of charm and surprises. None of the diminutive detectives are interesting and the villain, this whacked-out stepmom, is cartoonishly evil. Not new for the genre, granted, but still stupid.
On the other hand, this is a G-rated movie and there are no angst-ridden vampires. I'm also in a bad mood because the Knicks lost yet again to the lowly Pacers so, whatever.
The DVD: 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen, 5.1 Dolby surround, no extras.
Do you have a permit for this boathouse? No? Come with me please.
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Scales of Justice
* 1.78:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
Running Time: 65 Minutes
Release Year: 2010
MPAA Rating: Rated G
* Official Site