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Saturday, June 23, 2007

"Nancy Drew"

Nancy Drew
If there was ever a movie for light-hearted, whimsical fun, "Nancy Drew" would be it. It had a simple storyline, attractive actors and actresses, and a general feeling of old school optimism.

I was probably the only single guy above twenty in the entire cinema hall, but that didn't stop me from enjoying the show. It also helped that I didn't have the baggage of reading the old Nancy Drew stories. I never got into them, nor The Hardy Boys ones. So though there was criticism that the movie wasn't true to the books, I didn't feel that anything was amiss.

To sum up: the jokes fell flat (especially the one about "the guy from 'Smallville'"), the mystery was paper thin, characters were flat, and the contrast between River Heights and Los Angeles or Nancy Drew and everyone else couldn't be more apparent if you plastered a big sign in every scene. Fortunately, at 90 minutes, the non-mystery adventure was wrapped up quickly and neatly. So what's there to like?

Probably just this one thing. Emma Roberts as the title character was very enjoyable to watch. She played the perfect, sweet girl without coming across as annoying. And her smile always lit up the screen. Watching her, I could definitely see why girls wanted to be Nancy Drew: she was full of wonder and hope, but also filled with determination to get the job done. I think that she belongs in the same category of "fresh new talent to watch" that includes Anne Hathaway and Kristen Bell.

Unfortunately, the other characters were pretty much useless. Her schoolmates were irritating who were there simply to contrast Nancy Drew's old time chic from modern fashion. Ned, the love of her life, was let down by the wooden portrayal by the actor. The villains were so one-sided that there was no mystery about them. I think even Nancy Drew's hairband played a more vital role than all of the other characters put together!

Still, it was a delight to see some familiar faces show up, like Rachel Leigh Cook, Bruce Willis, Barry Bostwick, and Chris Kattan (from Saturday Night Live). Talk about well-kept secrets.

Alas, none of the above would make this a truly memorable movie. It's definitely targeted at the female teens who don't need to have read the original stories. I'd probably watch this again when I need a break from life.

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