Mystery Team

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Reviews Counted: 19

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Average Rating: 3.4/5

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Movie Info

Three would-be Encyclopedia Browns step into the world of grown-up crime in this independent comedy. When they were seven years old, "the Mystery Team" were three kids living in the same neighborhood in Oakdale who played at being precocious preteen detectives. With Jason (Donald Glover) as "the Master of Disguise," Duncan (D.C. Pierson) as "the Boy Genius," and Charlie (Dominic Dierkes) as "the Strongest Kid in Town," they would spend their afternoons getting to the bottom of such crimes as missing tricycles and stolen pies, charging ten cents (or some fruit roll-ups) for their services. However, while their peers have moved on to more mature pastimes now that they're 18 years old, Jason, Duncan, and Charlie are hopeless nerds stuck in preadolescence as they prepare to graduate from high school. Convinced that all they need to do is prove their crime-busting talents to regain the respect of their peers, the Mystery Team step into a new class of detective work when a little girl asks them to find out who killed her parents. The guys are up for the challenge, but it isn't long before dealing with real (and truly dangerous) criminals gets them in hot water. Created by members of the comedy troupe DERRICK, Mystery Team received its world premiere at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival.

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Robbie Sublett
as Ricky Appleman
Kevin Brown
as Bouncer
Gregory Burke
as Football Player
Kay Cannon
as Destiny
Neil Casey
as Broken Man
Lillian Chandler
as Mrs. Kimmel
Dan Eckman
as Bread Squeezer
George Eckman
as Old Man McGinty
Cheryl Freeman
as Mrs. Rogers
Will Hines
as Mr. Stevens
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News & Interviews for Mystery Team

Critic Reviews for Mystery Team

All Critics (19) | Top Critics (7)

  • A pleasant, charming knockabout with a playfully imaginative sense of wit and a pleasingly assured visual style.

    Mar 12, 2010 | Rating: 3.5/5 | Full Review…
  • Just because you're a hit on YouTube doesn't mean you should be making movies.

    Mar 11, 2010 | Full Review…
  • Smutty, silly, groan-worthy in many places, inexplicably hilarious in others, Mystery Team is a guilty pleasure -- a deeply dumb movie made by pretty smart people.

    Jan 28, 2010 | Rating: 2.5/4 | Full Review…

    Ty Burr

    Boston Globe
    Top Critic
  • Not surprisingly, especially for a movie heavy on college humor, the results are hit-and-miss. Some bits fall thuddingly flat, and the characters are rarely more than stick figures.

    Dec 4, 2009 | Rating: 2.5/5
  • Does the thought of watching grown men act like socially awkward boy wonders, while everyone tries not to look confused at their golly-gee shenanigans, crack you up?

    Dec 2, 2009 | Rating: 2/5 | Full Review…

    David Fear

    Time Out
    Top Critic
  • Genuinely funny but amateurishly constructed.

    Aug 26, 2009 | Full Review…

    Peter Debruge

    Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Mystery Team

Donald Glover carries the entire film and does a considerably funny job doing so, but it's not enough to keep the plot on track without any help from his costars.

Kase Vollebregt
Kase Vollebregt

Super Reviewer


"One big case. Zero clue." A group of former Encyclopedia Brown-style child-detectives struggle to solve an adult mystery.

Donald Glover, D.C. Pierson and Dominic Dierkes play three 18 year-old boys who peaked when they were seven years old. A master of disguise, a boy genius and a tough kid, together they formed the Mystery Team, who would solve petty, childish mysteries around town for a dime a pop. They were beloved at the time, but when they're still at it 11 years later, it's kind of sad. One day a little girl brings them a grown-up mystery: her parents were murdered. It's out of their jurisdiction (they're usually occupied with finding out who stuck their finger in an old lady's boysenberry pie), but, pressured to grow up, they take the case. Mystery Team is a parody of a phenomenon that was never itself a film: The Hardy Boys, Nancy Drew, and especially Encyclopedia Brown. They manage to walk the line -- like the first Austin Powers film -- so that it's neither too wacky so you can't believe it and don't care about the characters, but not too boring that it's not full of subtle interplay. The main gag is the innocence of the boys, who are thrust into adult situations continually. It's all about the acting in this film, and kudos especially to Donald Glover. Dressing like an outrageous hobo, for example, could come across as really stupid in a film with Jim Carrey or Rob Schneider, who play up their roles too much. Donald manages to do it consistently. On top of that, there are a several delightful plot twists that you won't see coming. The film tries to balance the boys basically being incompetent with allowing them to succeed in a way that isn't too corny. It's laugh-out-loud funny throughout, a genuine must-see if you like intelligent edgy comedies. Note, it's not really meant to be a kids film. There's a lot of raunchy humor.

Lorenzo von Matterhorn
Lorenzo von Matterhorn

Super Reviewer

The humor grows grows on you eventually, leading to some outright guffaws.

Steve K
Steve K

Super Reviewer

Not at all the most well-made or interesting film, but much of the film is laugh-out-loud hilarious thanks to the trio's rather random script. No, this film wouldn't have been funny five years ago, but thanks to the advent of the Internet and YouTube, much of the humor in this film is well-taken.

Jay Hutchinson
Jay Hutchinson

Super Reviewer

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