'Ace the Case': Film Review
Without parental supervision, a pre-teen girl tries to rescue a kidnapping victim.
Revolving around the kidnapping of a woman whose rich dad would do anything to keep his princess happy, Ace the Case is one of those indie films tone-deaf enough to make viewers wonder how many members of the cast and crew have similarly generous relatives, supporting careers that wouldn't otherwise exist. Perhaps reality TV is to blame: Writer/director/producer/editor Kevin Kaufman, having had some success with a cable show about "real housewives," evidently felt qualified to single-handedly create a caper about a Manhattan girl who helps solve a crime. A laugh-free comedy getting most of its cred from co-star Susan Sarandon, the pic will likely disappear more permanently than the damsel in distress does.
Ripley Sobo, recently a replacement actress for Broadway's Matilda, projects as if she's still onstage as Olivia, a kid who witnesses a kidnapping and has a hard time getting anyone to believe her. Sarandon's NYPD detective Dottie Wheel eventually buys her story, but only after the crime is spiraling out of control, with bumbling kidnappers leaving so many clues that their victim's father (Johnny Tran) can easily track them. He gets help from Lev Gorn's "The Surgeon," some kind of martial-arts savant whose skills are demonstrated early in the pic, when he foils the world's least-convincing mugging. For some reason, he carries a giant rabbit everywhere.
Similar unexplained affectations litter the pic, and would be more forgivable if any of them made us chuckle. But even the kidnappers, two of whom (Marc Menchaca and Arturo Castro) appear in a pair of TV's sharpest comedies (Inside Amy Schumer and Broad City, respectively), can't get a laugh here, and appear to be just killing time until their characters' plan is foiled.
Production company: Kaufman Films
Distributor: Gravitas Ventures
Cast: Ripley Sobo, Susan Sarandon, Marc Menchaca, Lev Gorn, Aaron Sauter, Ivana Kane, Luca Manganaro, Arturo Castro, Luna Tieu, Johnny Tran, Ginna Le Vine
Director-Screenwriter-Producer-Editor: Kevin Kaufman
Executive producers: Doug Biro, Anthony Burke, Trey Duncan, Douglas Falconer, Roy Poretsky, Rick Tirelli
Director of photography: Pat Darrin
Production designer: Laura Miller
Costume designer: Joan Kaufman
Composer: David Catalano
Casting director: Harrison Nesbit
PG-13, 94 minutes