January 13, 2020

SCREEN | Kid Mischief Fun – Scouting 'Troop Zero' on Prime Video

Mckenna Grace Charlie Shotwell Bert & Bertie | Troop Zero | Amazon Prime Video
Amazon Studios / Big Indie Pictures
Directing duo Bert & Bertie (aka Amber Finlayson and Katie Ellwood) take a budget/indie Wes Anderson approach to telling their misfit kids story—by way of Moonrise Kingdom meets Bad News Bears. Set in 1977 rural Georgia, Troop Zero has all the usual hallmarks of a children's adventure including ragtag scout troop rivalries and jamborees.

Starring Mckenna Grace as the bizarrely-named Christmas Flint, the curious outcast leader of a pack of elementary school-aged kids, she sets off on an amusing tale of mischief with her wayward classmates casually supervised by neighbourhood adult chaperones the likes of a stern Viola Davis (also a producer) with a badass afro alongside comedian Jim Gaffigan as her aloof father.

Rounding out the quirky set of characters are comic actors Allison Janney and Mike Epps, among precocious child actors like Charlie Shotwell in an ensemble that feels reminiscent of 1990s era family-friendly studio movies that try to have a little something for everyone.

Screenwriter Lucy Alibar populates the basic script (inspired by her 2010 play Christmas and Jubilee Behold The Meteor Shower) with a familiar nostalgia when kids could wander the streets unsupervised without worry despite the possibility of trouble lurking around brightly-lit suburban corners.

Troop Zero's charms rest on its mostly winning cast and earnest performances. A light and stylish indie comedy about curious outsider kids getting into trouble, it's a breezy and fun enough misadventure that's cute and amiable without the usual over-preciousness.

Troop Zero is available to stream on Amazon Prime Video starting January 16th.

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