The Gumshoe Kid

  • 1990
  • 1 HR 38 MIN
  • R
  • Comedy

At intervals, the young hero of this film dons a hat and turns to the camera to either grimace inanely or comment on the action in the style of a hard-bitten detective. Only once does he say anything useful. During a soliloquy on stakeouts he declares, "You keep asking yourself: `Am I wasting my time?"' It is an experience that is all too familiar to anyone...read more

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At intervals, the young hero of this film dons a hat and turns to the camera to either grimace inanely or comment on the action in the style of a hard-bitten detective. Only once does he say anything useful. During a soliloquy on stakeouts he declares, "You keep asking yourself: `Am I

wasting my time?"' It is an experience that is all too familiar to anyone who sits through this dumb farce. Jay Underwood plays teenager Jeff Sherman, who idolizes Humphrey Bogart and other 1940s movie private eyes. What a lucky break, then, that his financially troubled family is part owner of a

detective agency. To earn some vital cash, Jeff angles a job with the agency, which is run by his Uncle Ben (Vince Edwards). At first, Ben assigns his nephew only the most menial of chores, but when a racketeer needs someone to spy on his cheating fiancee, Rita Benson (Tracy Scoggins), Jeff is put

on the case. Hiding in a hotel closet, Jeff photographs a tryst between the dishy Rita and her lover, Glenn Devlin (Lucia). Suddenly goons burst in, pump Devlin full of tranquilizer bullets, and carry him off. When Jeff accidentally falls out of the closet, Rita latches on to him and flees from

the distracted thugs. Rita and Jeff go to the police, but when Rita notices the cops conferring with the kidnapers, she and Jeff sneak off. With the police and hoods after the pair, the movie becomes a tedious series of scams and strategies employed by the fugitives to elude their pursuers. After

modeling an array of wacky disguises and eventually sharing some passionate sex, Rita and Jeff are captured by the kidnapers, who turn out to be CIA agents. It seems Devlin was an important Russian spy, and Rita was being used to set him up. "Why didn't you just tell us?" Rita demands. Good

question.

Nothing in THE GUMSHOE KID is particularly funny, not even the self-conscious reference to Scoggins' role on TV's "Dynasty." Nonchalant about Jeff's spying, virtually unshaken by the kidnaping, never even bothering to speculate about her pursuers' motives, Scoggins walks through her vampish role

with bland detachment. The only time Scoggins' Rita shows any enthusiasm is when she is trying on new clothes. Underwood's portrayal of the teenage sleuth is equally lacking in viewer appeal. Once the chases start, Underwood drops most of the Bogart shtick (which has provided only the most feeble

amusement anyway) and behaves like any dumb movie teen, failing to become the charming lead the film so desperately needs. The only members who make an impression are Pamela Springsteen, as a sassy secretary, and Miguel Sandoval, whose exasperated demeanor wins immediate audience acceptance.

Adding to the general banality of the film is a cartoonish score that toot-toots relentlessly, even during the leads' slow-motion love scene in a shower. Composer Peter Matz and lyricist Pamela Phillips Oland do contribute the pleasant "Why Can't I?" (performed by Deborah Davis), but that, too,

wears thin by its third reprise. (Profanity, nudity, sexual situations, substance abuse.)

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  • Released: 1990
  • Rating: R
  • Review: At intervals, the young hero of this film dons a hat and turns to the camera to either grimace inanely or comment on the action in the style of a hard-bitten detective. Only once does he say anything useful. During a soliloquy on stakeouts he declares, "Yo… (more)

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