Sundance Notes: “Mystery Team” – Your Stoner Buddy’s Next Recommendation

by | January 23, 2009 at 5:54 PM | The Movies

You know how you have that one friend who’s really into “the Mary Jane” and he’s always got some crazy new thing he needs you to see., right? Sometimes it’s that SNL digital short you fell asleep before seeing, sometimes it’s a a really cracked-out martial arts flick, and sometimes it’s some nutball movie that didn’t do well but he insists you need to re-evaluate. Well, he’ll have another thing to show you whenever Derrick Comedy’s Mystery Team is released.

It’s a very high concept – Kid detectives like The Hardy Boys grow up without growing up. There’s Jason (Donald Glover), the master of disguise; Duncan (DC Pierson), the boy genius; and Charlie (Dominic Dierkes) as Charlie, the strongest kid in town. They all still dress and act like seven-year-olds and try their best to ignore their adolescence as they solve crimes like The Case of the Fingers in the Boysenberry Pie. Of course, life is gross, nasty and harsh, and it finally catches up with them in their senior year of high school, when a new little girl in the neighborhood pays them a dime to hire them to find out who killed her parents. What follows is a coming-of-age gross-out goof-fest that is surprisingly able to maintain its inventive humor throughout by balancing their child-like outlooks with the seediest filth they need to deal with in their hunt for clues. Trust me, your stoner friends will worship this. It’s just plain stupid-funny.

More Sundance news & notes after the jump.

Interesting rumor: Adam Bhala Lough, the director of the Lil Wayne documentary The Carter, is said to have tried to get his film pulled from the festival after the first showing. Perhaps he was unhappy with it, perhaps Lil Wayne objected to something, I don’t know, but I don’t think he was successful in his efforts, if this is even true.

Timothy Hutton has proven himself to be one of the most underrated actors not getting enough work today, as his role as a man slowly losing himself to lyme disease in the coming-of-age story Lymelife (which also stars Emma Roberts in a sexy alternateen role that makes it very difficult to imagine her running a Hotel for Dogs), as well as starring in the intense psychological thriller The Killing Room. People need to watch Beautiful Girls again and remember how great he is.

The crumbling economy has even hit Sundance, as corners have been cut, free schwag is much more limited and there are conflicting reports about the attendance levels. Let’s get us some stimulation, President Obama!

Speaking of whom, everybody here seems to be in the spirit of hope and change, despite the unrelenting redness of the rest of the state. A waitress at the awesomely-named restaurant The Eating Establishment on Main Street was asked to take a picture of a group of diners, and instead of the usual cheese-related photography cliche, she counted down with a ‘three, two, one, no more Bush!’ that brought the appropriate smiles to their faces.

There hasn’t been much in the way of anti-Prop 8 protesting happening here, despite most of the threats. Perhaps the activists have realized that Sundance is generally one of the gayest film festivals anywhere – featuring the premiere of the Jim Carrey/Ewan McGregor coupling in I Love You Phillip Morris as well as a good-buzz film called Humpday, in which a pair of straight guys make a gay porno together – and they’ve even got a Queer Lounge set up that Robert Redford himself hung out in on opening night. Know your enemies, folks. Sundance ain’t one of them.

Academy Award Nominee Michael Shannon made a bit of a splash with his brooding drunk P.I. following the trail of a mystery in the modern-day noir film The Missing Person, and Liam Neeson brings home the aftermath of violence during “the troubles” in Ireland with Five Minutes of Heaven, featuring a great performance by James Nesbitt as the brother of his victim.

I haven’t gotten to see it yet, but one has to wonder why Spring Breakdown is going straight to video when it’s a Spring Break comedy starring a hot commodity like Amy Poehler and it’s even got Sundance cred. Even if it’s bad, it should be easily promotable, shouldn’t it? Watch Amy Poehler and Rachel Dratch talking about Spring Breakdown at Sundance.

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Also, keep an eye out for Dead Snow. It is a German movie about Zombie Nazis. That’s pretty much all you need to know, but as a bonus, I’ll tell you that it’s highly amusing to know that even Germans mock Arnold Schwarzenegger’s accent.