Film Review: Ace the Case

This kiddie crime caper promises fun, but delivers clueless disappointment instead.
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New York kid Olivia (Ripley Sobo, something of a screechy little horror) happens to witness the kidnapping of a spoiled heiress (gorgeous Luna Tieu) one day, but dammit, no one believes her! Luckily, police detective Dottie Wheel (Susan Sarandon) gets both girl and her crime account, and goes into serious help mode. The victim's father (Johnny Tran), meanwhile, seems to be making the most progress on the case, aided by martial arts-wiz The Surgeon (Lev Gorn).

“Real Housewives of Orange County” producer Kevin Kaufman wrote, directed, edited, produced and acts in this weirdly unsuccessful "family murder mystery." To put it bluntly, he's no Orson Welles: The premise of Ace the Case is wildly absurd and the handling utterly tone-deaf as to the proper way to present it for consumption in the shopping malls of America. Nothing on the screen has any relation to any kind of human life, with crazy flights of fancy that are unforgivably unfunny.

If anything, the film is something of an informal, backhanded tribute to Sarandon, the one performer able to summon up the requisite smooth professionalism and deadpan tongue-in-cheek drollness to make Kaufman's hackneyed view of theatre and other world issues somewhat less dispiriting. Sarandon, who appears in all kinds of films these days, rarely puts a foot wrong, a far, glorious cry from the stiff ineptitude which marked her earlier work until Louis Malle’s Atlantic City made everything come—and stay—together for her.

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