Created by Evan Morgan
“It’s difficult to accept the difference between who you are in your head and who you are in the world.”
ABE APPLEBAUM became the pride and joy of his small hometown of Willowbrook, Ontario, as an adorable twelve-year-old detective, initially working out a treehouse in his parents’ backyard, and solving over 200 small crimes for his friends and classmates, culminating in his solving of the theft of some fund-raising money at the school. He was celebrated in both the local and national press, promised “ice cream for life” at a local diner, awarded the key to the city, and given a “real” office at city hall, with the mayor’s young daughter, Gracie, acting as his age-appropriate secretary (Abe paid her with soda). And then it all came crashing down, when Gracie disappeared.
But that was a long time ago. Abe’s now 32, and he’s become a private detective, a befuddled, mop-topped shambles of a man-child with a permanently pained look on his face, perennially in need of a shave and a change of clothes, stumbling through life still solving the same lame ass cases for pre-adolescents and teenagers he used to, when he’s not playing the drums or videogames, drinking too much or taking drugs, or beating himself to death over the fact that he failed to crack the biggest case of his life–the disappearance of Gracie, which was never solved.
No wonder his long-suffering parents are worried about him, and keep asking him if he’s alright. The answer is obvious to anyone watching this flick: No! He’s not.
And then Caroline, a sad, wise-beyond-her-years high school girl brings him his first “adult” case. She wants to hire Abe to find out who brutally murdered her boyfriend. A “real” case! All Abe can see is redemption.
The is an odd film, a sad, weirdly off-kilter mix of sweet and sour, part comedy, part tragedy. It’s reminiscent at times of the 2020 TV show Dicktown, which built itself around the same premise, but this one isn’t filled with snark and irony–this one’s pretty much played straight right down the line, so that even the humour, when it comes, often either hurts or makes you squirm, while the underlying mystery (and it’s a good one) owes as much to Chinatown (or maybe David Lynch) as it does to Franklin W. Dixon.
At times you want to feel sorry for Abe–he’s got a shrewd deductive mind, but he’s so inept in other ways, socially and physically, that you can’t decide whether he’s an asshole, an idiot or just a pathetic symbol of arrested development.
Even now, I’m not sure about Abe. But I did like this smart, brave movie. It hurts, but in a good way. It has a sort of cinematic tonal sleight-of-hand that totally got me. I’m going to have to keep an eye on this Evan Morgan guy.
- “The Kid Detective” is wryly humorous for its first hour or so before getting notably darker, but there’s an undercurrent of melancholy in Brody’s performance throughout that works… At times it reminded me of other droll P.I. films like Zero Effect or Brick, and I remembered that I wish there were still making more movies like this, films about people solving mysteries and their life problems at the same time.”
— Brian Tallerico (
- “… an unexpected mix of disparate elements that in the wrong hands could have resulted in lumpy parody but, fortunately, pours out as something smooth, funny, dark and potent.”
— The Los Angeles Times
- Caroline: Somebody murdered my boyfriend.
Caroline: Pretty seriously. He was stabbed seventeen times.
- “I forgot to brush my teeth today.”
OH SAY, CAN YOU SEE?
- The row of Hardy Boy books in Abe’s office?
- THE KID DETECTIVE | Buy the DVD | Buy the Blu-Ray | Watch it now!
(2020, Woods Entertainment & JoBro Productions & Film Finance)
Written & directed by Evan Morgan
Starring Adam Brody as ABE APPLEBAUM
Jesse Noah Gruman as Young Abe
and Sophie Nélisse as Caroline
Also starring Kaitlyn Chalmers-Rizzato, Kaleb Horn, Wendy Crewson, Jonathan Whittaker, Sarah Sutherland, Brent Skagford, Steve Gagne, Giovanna Moore
THE DICK OF THE DAY
- September 17, 2023
The Bottom Line: Once upon a time, he was the toast of the town. A real live kid detective, with over 200 cases solved. But then he grew up. A sad, quirky, shape-shifting film, as though maybe David Lynch and Franklin W. Dixon teamed up to rewrite Chinatown.