Today’s movie takes something of a one-joke premise, throws it in a blender with enough raunch and scatological humor to make the American Pie series look like wholesome family entertainment, and supporting cast members from most of the better NBC comedies, and comes out with a low budget film that works better than it has any right to, but not quite as well as I would have liked.
Mystery Team is the big screen opus from Derrick Comedy, a very popular act on YouTube circa 2008. The troupe consisting of writers/stars Dominic Dierkes, DC Pierson, and Donald Glover, (who’s performance here lead to bigger and better things), director Dan Eckman and producer Meggie McFadden, demonstrate that it’s pretty tough to graduate from YouTube clips to a feature film, but they certainly don’t fail for a lack of effort
When they were seven years old three friends, Jason Rogers (Glover) master of disguise and team leader, Duncan Wheeler (Pierson) the boy genius, and Charlie Day (Dierkes) the strongest kid in town formed the Mystery Team, an Encyclopedia Brown style detective agency. They charged a dime to solve mysteries for neighborhood kids, and everyone thought they were great. Now they’re eighteen years old, about to graduate high school, and still running their detective agency, and acting exactly they way they did a decade earlier. Behavior that was cute and endearing for seven year-olds is, of course, not nearly so admired in young adults. Things take an interesting turn when the team is hired to solve real grown-up case.
Ten year old Brianna Peters (Daphne Ciccarelle) hires the team to investigate the murder of her parents. The team takes the case, Brianna had paid her dime, after all, but quickly realize that they’re in over their heads. However, before they reach this realization meet Brianna’s older sister Kelly (Aubrey Plaza). Kelly has an effect on Jason that none of the team has experienced before. She makes him feel all tingly, and he even thinks that he might want to (yuck!) French kiss her! So Jason refuses to let the team drop the case, and the team find themselves on a case that leads them into encounters with thieves, and drug dealers, and strippers and all manner of grown up things that they’re poorly equipped to deal with.
This comedy definitely shows the troupe’s origins doing comedic shorts, and for the most part it plays out in a series of fairly autonomous sequences. It pulls no punches when it comes to raunch, and toilet humor. In one particularly memorable scene, the team follows a clue that leads them to a Gentlemen’s Club, for a crucial scene which fits in as much sexual and scatological humor that the time allotted possibly could hold.
Most relies on what is essentially one joke, three grossly naïve young men bumble their way through a series of adult situations. It gets old after a while. Fortunately, in the last half-hour they seem to run out of bodily functions to get laughs from, and decide to have a bit of plot instead.
This movie is a prime example of clever writers making a stupid comedy, it works but it’s certainly not designed to appeal to a broad audience. This movie has a lot of flaws, but when the jokes connect, it’s hilarious. For a viewer looking to really test the limits of crude humor, it’s worth watching.