Nancy Sleuths Again! Nancy Drew, The Movie
Kids! They're unpredictable! My eight-year-old grandson, whose recreational taste runs to playing army, Spiderman X-box games, and pony riding on mountain trails, on this midsummer's eve declared that he wanted to see the movie Nancy Drew! So off we went to see the movie, swallowed up by a dark cineplex under a brilliantly blue summer sky!
Full disclosure: my childhood reading was Nancy-less! I fell into the crack between the waves of popularity and neglect which have befallen Nancy and the Hardy brothers over the years, and my first experience with the series was in library school, where we read one or two as examples of formulaic series fiction.
Despite my glaring lack of expertise, my opinion of the movie pretty much paralleled reviewer Ty Burr's, whose The Best Old Movies for Families: A Guide to Watching Together was featured in my post of June 17, when he said, "...it could have been worse." Although Nancy's persona in the film is definitely that of the consummately serious nerd, the tone of the movie is pleasantly campy. There's a bit of irony provided by two cliched California girls who provide comic relief as they struggle to "get" Nancy's sincerity (one IM's the other "OMG, I sitting next to Martha Stewart!") and attempt to restyle her preppy plaid skirts and penny loafers.
The plot, which takes Nancy to L.A. with her lawyer father, has Nancy violating her dad's ruling that she cease detecting and be a normal teenager as she secretly locates the lost will of a murdered movie star and restores her fortune to her long-lost daughter. This plot line is typical enough to make any Drew fan feel right at home, but it pretty much gets lost in the muddle of scenes as Nancy escapes slow-footed bad guys, steals through secret panels and dark passages, and has the requisite California car chase in her famous blue roadster. No matter. The fun is in watching one conventional mystery element after another appear on screen as Nancy remains primly perky and resourceful through it all.
Emma Roberts, who plays Nancy, is reputed to be the niece of Julia Roberts and does share that luminous Roberts' smile which just lights up the screen. Nancy is supposedly sixteen (at least she's apparently a legal driver), but Miss Roberts looks more like a chaste twelve or thirteen-year-old. My grandson was much taken with her incredible cuteness, an actressy aspect which he's certainly never remarked upon before!
Nancy Drew is rated PG, supposedly for the occasional "violent" pratfalls among the villains and the "thematic elements" which in one scene touch upon the possible long-ago pregnancy of the movie star just before her murder.
There were worse movies on the marquee than this one, and it's certainly not a bad way to spend some time with the kids this summer. My advice? Save it for a rainy summer day! Then buy them a few Nancy Drew mysteries for those dark and stormy summer nights.
Oh, yeah. What's important is that my grandson thought the movie was "awesome!"