“If Encyclopedia Brown, the kids from American Pie, and Nancy Drew all had sex, their baby would probably look something like Mystery Team.” That’s the description being used as the Mystery Team’s official plot synopsis, and I can’t think of anything more perfectly appropriate for one of the funniest surprises at Sundance this year and a sure thing to become the next big cult hit, should someone have the good sense to pick it up and put it in theaters. Mystery Team go!

Mystery Team is the story of three kids who spent their childhood solving mysteries. They set up a stand in their front yard, with a roughly scribbled sign proclaiming they’ll solve anything for ten cents. Jason is the Master of Disguise (Donald Glover), Charlie is the Strongest Kid in Town (Dominic Dierkes), and Duncan is the Boy Genius (D.C. Pierson). When they were seven it was cute, only now they’re 18 and still running around trying to find out who stuck his finger in Mrs. Minke’s pie. Jason is now some idiot with a bunch of fake mustaches, Charlie is a dim bulb who stalk’s the school’s real jocks, and Duncan is just some guy who once memorized a book of fun facts. The people around them see them for what they are, but they don’t. Jason, Charlie, and Duncan live in a fantasy world where there are glorious mysteries to be solved. What would happen if Encyclopedia Brown got older, but forgot to grow up? He’d be these guys, three social pariahs spectacularly ill-equipped to deal with adulthood and the real world.

The film then takes these already hilarious characters and thrusts them straight into the middle of their first big time, serious case. This time instead of lost bikes, a little girl hires them to discover the identity of her parents’ murderer. Mystery Team has its first real mystery, and our naïve characters are thrust into a host of frighteningly adult, and ridiculously hilarious situations. Imagine Encyclopedia brown confronted with a real dead body, or forced to sneak into a strip club. Three incredibly innocent, confused characters are thrust into a raunchy, violent world of drugs, sex, and murder and the results are insanely hilarious.

It’s more than just funny though. There’s actually a good mystery too. In a sense, Mystery Team is a comedy built on the bones of a sharp, well-made, classic mystery movie. It’s the type of great detective story that’s long gone missing from movies and television, it’s Columbo but done up with hilarious characters and raunchy, snarky wit. Think Apatow does Agatha Christie and you’ll get some inkling of the pleasures Mystery Team has in store.

Mystery Team needs to be seen. It’s fresh, it’s unique, and funnier than hell. It’s the kind of movie that’ll rock midnight showings full of jubilant, nerds for years to come. It’s the Rocky Horror Picture Show of mystery movies. Somebody buy it! Release it! Mystery Team has zero blockbuster potential, but it’s got cult hit written all over it.

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