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A throwback to an earlier time in which adventure movies geared to young children didn’t need to feature lavish special effects or Dwayne Johnson, Joseph Itaya’s feature debut is a quaint affair that will be hard-pressed to find its target audience whether in limited theatrical release or home video formats. The tale of two brothers who get involved in that familiar kid’s movie narrative staple, a treasure hunt, Lost & Found will quickly find itself in the first category.
The story revolves around teenage Andy (Justin Kelly) and his rambunctious kid brother Mark (Benjamin Stockham), who are sent to spend the summer on a remote island after Mark exhibits signs of juvenile delinquency. The island is actually named for the boys’ grandfather, a renowned codebreaker during World War II who amassed a fortune, only to mysteriously disappear in the 1980s after burying it somewhere on the island. The boys are in the care of their estranged Uncle Trent — or “Uncle whoever you are,” as Mark derisively calls him — who runs a bait shop, drinks far too much and likes to create miniature ships in bottles.
The story’s resident villain, naturally, is a real-estate developer (Cary Elwes, chewing the scenery) who plans to transform the quaint fishing village into an upscale resort. Both he and Trent would very much like to get their hands on the missing treasure, except that Trent has long since given up the hunt. But the two boys, discovering that their grandfather had left elaborately complex clues about its whereabouts, resume the search. Accompanying them is the developer’s young daughter (Celeste Desjardins), with whom Mark strikes up a budding romance.
It’s all about as clichéd and predictable as it sounds, although the proceedings are mildly enjoyable in an old-fashioned, Andy Hardy sort of way. The young performers go through their paces with the sort of enthusiasm generated by inexperience; Jason Patric, as usual these days, is far better than the tired material with which he’s been saddled; and there’s no shortage of beautiful scenery on display. But from its generic characters and situations to its climactic plot revelation all too obviously designed to tug at young heartstrings, Lost & Found feels utterly inconsequential.
Production companies: Sure Crossing Films, Enlighten Entertainment Group, Gearshift Films
Cast: Cary Elwes, Jason Patric, Justin Kelly, Benjamin Stockham, Celeste Desjardins
Director: Joseph Itaya
Screenwriters: Joseph Itaya, Erik Cardona
Producers: Scott Bridges, Kim Selby, Joseph Itaya, Jordon Barker, Borg Dorter
Executive producers: Lee Broda, Jeff Rice
Director of photography: Matt Egan
Production designer: Brian Verhoog
Editor: Brian Felber
Costume designer: Ruth Secord
Composer: Tom Howe
Casting: Ron Digman, Valorie Massalas, Lisa Parasyn
Rated PG, 91 minutes
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