Mystery Team may not have made The Hangover money in 2009 — Derrick Comedy's feature-film debut earned all of $89,442 in box-office receipts from its limited distribution in cinemas, according to Box Office Mojo. I think it may have been one of the more criminally overlooked comedies of the year. It's out today on DVD, and star Donald Glover told me last week he was "very happy with how it was received," regardless of whether a wider audience finds it on video.
That this NYU-to-UCB sketch group even made a movie that landed in Sundance and eventually cinemas in various cities — one city, one week at a time — around America is an accomplishment. As the DVD, out today, described its making-of featurette as "about five best friends doing something no one believed they could do: make a movie about three best friends doing something no one believed they could do." And as Glover, the best-known member of Derrick says on that featurette: "I'm in love with Derrick because it's a place where you can have big ideas and nobody's going to say they're stupid."
Their madcap comedy caper — starring three of Derrick's members (Glover, DC Pierson and Dominic Dierkes) portraying high-school seniors whose personal growth stunted when they were the 8-year-old Encyclopedia Browns of their neighborhood (aka the Mystery Team) — was filmed in the summer of 2008 in and around the childhood homes, school and workplace of the families of Derrick's other two members, Dan Eckman and Meggie McFadden. Who would have thought two summers ago that Mystery Team would feature cast members from NBC's entire Thursday night sitcom lineup plus SNL? To wit:
Community: Glover (plus all of his Derrick colleagues in one episode)
Parks and Recreation: Aubrey Plaza (plus Ben Schwartz in a recurring role)
The Office: Ellie Kemper
30 Rock: John Lutz and Kevin Brown
SNL: Bobby Moynihan
The cast also includes UCB stalwarts Matt Walsh, Will Hines, Anthony King, Kay Cannon and Jon Daly.
Previously: I sat down with most of Derrick when the film was still being edited post-Sundance, and again when the film hit cinemas in NYC, for separate video interviews. Watch Derrick talk to me about Mystery Team, part one. Watch Derrick talk to me about Mystery Team, part two.