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Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Indie Film Review: MYSTERY TEAM

What happens when your glory days are behind you? When you peaked years ago, when you were younger, faster, smarter, like back in elementary school?

That's what the Mystery Team has to deal with in the new independent film from Derrick Comedy. The Mystery Team, consisting of Jason: Master of Disguise, Duncan: Boy Genius, and Charlie: Strongest Kid in Town, are used to handling cases involving pies and missing bikes, and usually involves shaking down some kids on the playground, which was all fine and dandy when they were kids themselves, but now, on the brink of graduating High School, the team refuses to give up the dream of being Oakdale's #1 Kid Detectives.

Insulted and humiliated by everyone, they just need that one big case to put them back on top again. That's when young Brianna hires the team to find out who killed her parents. Wait, what? Murder? In Oakdale? Brianna & Kelly, her older sister, just moved to town and now they're parents are killed in cold blood. But never fear ladies, for the Mystery Team is on the case, right?

This is the first feature length from the group who brought us such epic comedic short films such as: History of the Drunk Dial, The Young F@#kables, and countless others (about 30 or so). CAUTION: from most of the videos I've seen, they're at least PG-13, if not R, or X for inappropriate use of swear words.

With Mystery Team however, it gets an R rating for crude sexual content, nudity, language and some drug material, but it never really feels that bad or inappropriate as the lead trio are so wholesome, even as 8 year olds curse them out, and strippers with scars grind up on them. In fact, the shady side of this small suburban town is one of the funniest aspects of the movie. I knew this stuff was going on somewhere in the town I grew up in, but much like the Mystery Team, I was too oblivious and innocent to know it.

And that's the other aspect that makes me love this movie, the sense of innocence and boys' adventure. I grew up devouring Encyclopedia Brown and eventually tried Hardy Boys, but it just wasn't as hip as Encyclopedia Brown was; after all he was a rogue kid detective with the nerdiest/coolest nickname ever. Better than Leroy, that's for sure. Mystery Team really captures that feeling of being a kid and riding your bike around town, getting into all sorts of danger and excitement, whether it was real or imaginary.

Now, first and foremost this a comedy, even though it delivers on the mystery aspect (as it should seeing as mystery is in the title), and judging from the odd smoky aroma of the audience I take it that this movie will fall into the cult-stoner-comedy category. It really is one of the funniest movies I've seen in a long while, and has a plethora of classic quotes, "Did you f@#k this bread?!" being my all-time favorite quote from maybe this decade. Some jokes seem like they might wear thin, and the Derrick Comedy crew see this and stop it there, so all the jokes seem pretty fresh, with one or two exceptions.

The movie really delivers on every level, and only really slows a bit towards the end of the second act as the team inevitably disbands, but as soon as they reunite it's back on like Donkey Kong! It's fun, a good mystery, and harkens back to the days of youth, running amuck with your friends, getting into trouble. All the supporting cast are great, as it seems to be comprised of mostly UCB graduates (with even an appearance by Matt Walsh) and is extremely well directed which really enhances the comedic timing of Donald Glover, D.C. Pierson, Dominic Dierkes, Aubrey Plaza and the rest of the gang.

If you're in NYC you have until this Thursday to check the movie out at Quad Cinema, and if you see it twice, bring your ticket stubs and join SWORD CLUB! Yes, that's right, you'll get an inflatable sword, hand numbered, and be on the DVD as a member of Sword Club! If you don't live in NYC, be sure to click on the link on either the Derrick Comedy site or the Mystery Team site to demand it in your city. Looks like Albuquerque, New Mexico is up next on Dec 11th, then Chicago, Illinois on Feb 4th.

So go and enjoy, and be proud of the elitist you are when all the kids are saying how great this movie is once it gets worldwide distribution, and there you'll be, straight up making with your inflatable sword and props on the DVD.



Ps- If you're not in NYC and you can't wait, maybe this Mystery Team short film will tide you over til then:

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