Secret Headquarters begins with some sort of alien spacecraft crashlanding on the ground, followed Jack Kincaid (Owen Wilson – Bliss) going to check it out. A drone flies out, appears to bond with Jack, and yes, he’s become a superhero, namely, The Guard.
14-year-old son Charlie (Walker Scobell – The Adam Project) is in a quandry because his parents, Jack and Lily (Jessie Mueller) have split up, his Dad always telling him he’s busy, and can’t even get his son a decent present to make up for it, which doesn’t go unnoticed by Charlie. However, even after my parents got divorce, my Dad never had a separate apartment which was the size of a mansion like Owen’s. But this is the movies, of course.
Meanwhile, Charlie fancies returning girl at school, the tomboyish Maya (Momona Tamada), who’s been away for a few years (for reasons only ever briefly touched upon), and the feeling is clearly mutual. Of course, when you’re that age, you never think you’re going to get anyone to fancy you, or at least it’s the case that when you fancy someone, it’s the ones you DON’T, who end up fancying you. But enough of my problems…
Back to the plot, and after Jack rushes off to work, leaving Charlie at his home to wait for his mum – during which friends from school show up – Maya, Berger (Keith L Williams) and Lizzie (Abby James Witherspoon, niece of Reese Witherspoon, before you ask) – the kids accidentally trigger Owen’s hidden safe, which leads to his underground superhero lair, a la the Batcave… yes, the ‘secret headquarters’, and finding all manner of tech down there.
Oh, and it’s also clear that Berger likes Lizzie, yet she says he’s too young for her, even though as he exclaims, “We’re the same age!”
Yep, this is the problem when you’re a 14-year-old boy: girls in the same year fancy older boys, so you haven’t got a chance. Even though it’s been a million years since I was 14, the pain is still there.
Meanwhile, there’s a megalomaniac, Ansel Argon, where Michael Peña (Moonfall) plays Michael Peña, as always. He’s trying to find The Guard. Naturally, they go on his trail, not realising that he’s not the one who’s using the tech at the moment, and as everyone ends in the secret basement… Yep, it’s that sort of film, a bit similar to Panic Room.
Surprisingly, Owen Wilson is largely absent from this film, since he’s gone off to work while it all kicks off in his lair, returning for around the last 30 minutes.
There’s also an odd moment, 71 minutes in, where it looks like Michael Peña is meant to be flipping the bird to someone, but that the key part of that scene has been edited out… because it’s a PG cert.
Sure, I’d have loved for my Dad to be a superhero when I was a kid, but overall, Secret Headquarters is rather too silly, even for its target audience, and every moment is predictable to the last. Plus, the more you watch, the more you realise how much this was done on a very tight budget. For example, we don’t even get to see him saving the world in any capacity – other than briefly flying around like Iron Man, and any past escapades are just briefly listed onscreen at one point.
Yes, despite Owen’s costume, this is not a Marvel movie.
Additionally, the dialogue could do with subtitles, which weren’t on the preview I saw.
There’s also a post-credits scene:
Thanks to our friends at Paramount+ for the screener prior to release.
Secret Headquarters is on Paramount+ from Saturday August 13th, but isn’t yet available to pre-order on Blu-ray or DVD.
Running time: 106 minutes
Release date: August 13th 2022
Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1
Directors: Henry Joost, Ariel Schulman
Producers: Jerry Bruckheimer, Chad Oman
Screenplay: Josh Koenigsberg, Henry Joost, Ariel Schulman, Christopher L Yost
Music: Lorne Balfe
Jack Kincaid: Owen Wilson
Charlie Kincaid: Walker Scobell
Ansel Argon: Michael Peña
Irons: Jesse Williams
Maya: Momona Tamada
Berger: Keith L Williams
Hawaii: Charles Melton
Lizzie: Abby James Witherspoon
Big Mac: Kezii Curtis
Lily Kincaid: Jessie Mueller
Jersey: Dustin Ingram
Virginia: Levy Tran
Wisconsin: Michael Anthony
Ms. Squint: Dayna Beilenson
Coach Skipper: David Lengel
Himself: Forrest Deal
Coach Hammer: DK Metcalf
Umpire: Lav Luv
Robbie Fernandez: Aiden Malik
Officer O’Reilly: Mick Daily
Officer Grant: Ninja N Devoe
Young Charlie Kincaid: Louie Chaplin Moss
Jerry the Janitor: Lucius Baston
Classroom child #1: Nickolas Antonescu Wolf
Classroom child #2: Justice Freedom Jones
Tall Child: Savannah Schultz
Dance DJ: Laila Pruitt
Berger’s Dad: Labrandon Shead
Berger’s Mom: Constance McCracklin
School Dance Child: Riley Ramsey
Concession worker: Penelope Telleur
Anchorwoman: Mallory Hoff
Baseball fan: Juan Szilagyi
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.