Kids love mysteries. And with the near eternal popularity of Nancy Drew, The Hardy Boys, Scooby Doo, etc. there is no shortage of new attempts at kicking off a franchise. Most never get past the first installment, but that doesn’t seem stop the next one from trying. Director Brian Shackelford and co-writer Joyce Fitzpatrick give us the latest, Hidden Orchard Mysteries: The Case of the Air B and B Robbery.
Hidden Orchard is one of those upscale suburban communities where usually the biggest problem anyone has is petty beefs the HOA. And it’s in the middle of a meeting about one such beef, allowing an Air B and B rental in the development, that we begin. It seems the house belonging to Mr. Parker (Donovan Williams) and his wife (Kim Akia) has been broken into. The house that was the subject of the meeting.
This doesn’t sit well with self-appointed detectives Lulu (Ja’ness Tate) and Gabby (Gabriella Pastore). This is their neighbourhood and nobody is going to rob it.
The Case of the Air B and B Robbery is an enjoyable film for the kids. The two leads make a great team. Gabby’s ability to remember even the slightest details combines nicely with Lulu’s near infallible intuition about people. And there’s plenty of suspects for them to use their skills on.
From Mrs. Jones (Jaymee Vowell) the HOA president who opposes the Parkers plans to the Parkers themselves. Or maybe it’s Mr. Sanchez (Orlando Cortez) who has access to the houses. Or Dai Dai (Kevin Robinson) formerly known as Dean and recently returned to Hidden Orchard. Of course, you can’t rule out Mr. Patricks (Tim Davidson) who owns several rental units and doesn’t want the competition.
The film has updated the formula a bit to fit in with the times. Gabby lives with her dad Franklin (Davey Moore), and stepmother, Cynthia (Camilla Elaine). She ha issues with this but is working through it. While that’s rather innocuous some other things may concern some parents. One of the residents is not just smoking, but growing pot. There’s also talk of other neighbours having an affair, and a bit of very mild swearing. There’s also a scene with somebody drawing a gun that might be scary for some younger kids.
Honestly, though, I would have let my kids watch The Case of the Air B and B Robbery when they were in the target age group, and that was quite a while ago, Most youngsters will have heard worse at school, mine certainly had and they grew up in a rural town that was all about church and family. But, different families, different values.
Hidden Orchard Mysteries: The Case of the Air B and B Robbery is available June 16, 2020, on digital on from platforms as well as cable VOD. The DVD will be available on July 14th. You can check for updates on the film’s Facebook page.