What You Need To Know:
DOWN AND DERBY, produced in part by Pure Entertainment, is in many ways just that – clean, fun, moral, and ultimately Christian. The script is surprisingly well written. Some of the scenes are extremely tense and exciting, which shows good craftsmanship, despite the low budget. Regrettably, the fathers try to lie and cheat and steal to get revenge, but this is shown by implication to be wrong when they are confronted with the greater good. With this caution, MOVIEGUIDE® recommends this comedy for families with older children and young teenagers.
(C, L, V, M) Ultimately Christian worldview, spending a lot of time trying to win at all costs, with selfishness finally rebuked; three obscenities; very mild action violence such as man falls off roof, man falls in flower bed, and a few other pratfalls; man hides in room while woman takes shower, and man hides under married couple’s bed; no nudity; no alcohol; and, stealing, lying and revenge, which are not as clearly rebuked as they could be.
Phil Davis was the fastest boy and best athlete in his small town until Ace Montana moved from California to join Phil’s fifth-grade class. From that point, Phil and his two best friends, Blaine and Big Jimmy, are always second place.
Many years later, Phil, Blaine, Big Jimmy, and Ace all have sons who have to build the perennial Pinewood Derby car for their Boy Scout troop. The boys are all excited. Phil and his friends see a way to beat Ace once and for all, and so they take over the projects from their sons. The sons, in turn, figure out they can blackmail their fathers into giving them candy money and movie money by saying, “Dad, we really want top work with you.” Phil, Blaine and Big Jimmy go so far as to sneak into Ace’s house to try to figure out what he’s doing for the Derby. In the process, they get caught in some compromising situations, but nothing bad is shown on screen. Needless to say, the ending is uplifting in more ways than one.
DOWN AND DERBY, produced in part by Pure Entertainment, is in many ways just that – clean, fun, moral, and ultimately Christian. The script is surprisingly well written. Some of the scenes are extremely tense and exciting, which shows good craftsmanship, because clearly this was shot on a small budget, and the quality of the script had to make up for budgetary limitations. The acting is generally good, though sometimes too cute. The editing enhances the suspense in the script. The direction is generally good.
DOWN AND DERBY is an enjoyable movie. The fathers, regrettably, try to lie and cheat and steal to get revenge on their nemesis, but this is shown by implication to be wrong when they are confronted with the greater good. The children try to manipulate the fathers, but, again, good triumphs in the end. However, this movie is not preachy or didactic. Except for one statement that sacrifice is trading something good for something better, the movie does not verbally reiterate the audience the moral points. It should be noted that some very good movies take the opposite tack. SPIDER-MAN clearly shows and tells its moral messages, so it is dramatically possible to do both. That said, this is a movie that is recommended and fun to watch.