Adam Brody excels as a former child-prodigy PI in a sharply funny crime caper with an existential bent
Rarely has a film been so underserved by its title. The Kid Detective: it conjures images of a perky, Disneyesque B-movie from the late 70s. In fact, it’s one of the darkest, most astringently bleak comedies of the year – a feature-length howl of existential despair and disappointment, punctuated with jokes. Fortunately, the jokes are bracingly sharp; many – like a running gag about free ice-cream – are seeded early in the picture, to pay off satisfyingly later.
As a precocious 12-year-old, Abe was “the Kid Detective” – a local celebrity and a fixture in the town newspaper. But when a girl went missing and he was unable to rescue her, the town’s grief weighed heavily on his shoulders. Now Abe is a grown man stewing resentfully in the shadow of his hot-shot younger self.