Nancy Drew
PG
Entertainment: +3
Acceptability: +4

Emma Roberts, Josh Flitter, Max Thieriot, Rachael Leigh Cook, Tate Donovan. Family Mystery Adventure. Written by Andrew Fleming and Tiffany Paulsen. Directed by Andrew Fleming.

FILM SYNOPSIS: Based on characters created by Carolyn Keene, Nancy Drew follows teenager Nancy (Emma Roberts) as she accompanies her father, Carson Drew (Tate Donovan), to Los Angeles on one of his business trips and stumbles across evidence about a long-unsolved crime involving the mysterious death of a beautiful movie star. Nancys resourcefulness and personal responsibility are put to the test when she finds herself in the middle of the fast-living, self-indulgent world of Hollywood.

PREVIEW REVIEW: I liked everything about this movie, mainly because its smart. And witty. For example; after nearly being run down, Nancy asks her friend, I wonder who tried to kill us? The filmmakers are spoofing B-film dialogue, but lovingly. The line was purposely corny, but delivered with an affection that caused a lighthearted giggle from young and old. Another moment is equally entertaining. Nancy finds a bomb in her car. Surrounded by unknowing teens, she grabs the ticking device and nonchalantly moves off, calmly offering this reason for the rudeness, Excuse me, I have to defuse this bomb.

Nancys pension for sleuthing is explained by the death of her mother years before. Mom remains a mystery, one Nancy cant solve, so she tries to decode other puzzles. And though the world is now populated by world-weary adults and children, Nancy is her own person and prefers a different time and attitude. Shes encapsulated herself in a sort of retro-cocktail hour, constructed by Bossa Nova music and all things mid-1960s, perhaps the world her mother had lived in. She seems out of step with her new schoolmates, but Nancy sees no need to fit in if it means not being herself.

Nancy wears knee socks and penny loafers and drives a vintage roadster, not because shes stuck in a time warp like those movies that mocked TVs Brady Bunch, but because she finds them a good fit. Her style is not predicated on the fickle flair of girls afraid to try anything outside the limited mindset of their peers.

Most everything about the production is geared to adolescent females, giving them an instructive message about being true to yourself, while also caring for others. And Nancy understands that to achieve a goal, you have to work for it, not merely expect it to be given. Its a kind of lesson in character building, but subtly incorporated into the comic adventure so that youngsters never feel they are being preached to.

Emma Roberts, niece of Julia, has a good screen presence. It takes skill to handle tongue-in-cheek humor and she manages everything the script and her director toss at her. As for the director, he is nearly as brave and chichi as the lead character. He paces the film deliberately, allowing for character-revealing moments and taking his time to show Nancy dealing with predicaments, then wisely speeding up the action before todays music-video generation can lose interest. That assumption is based on the fact that all the preteeners at the screening remained glued to their seats as Nancy went about her business much like a cross between Sherlock Holmes and televisions MacGyver.

The film has a chic look, taking advantage of colorful Southern California locales. And theres even a surprise cameo. No, its not Aunt Julia, but its a friend with whom shes co-starred a couple of times. I wont give him away, but I wouldnt be surprised if in real life, Emma calls him Uncle Bruce. Oops.

Nancy Drew is clever, stylish and downright fun.

Preview Reviewer: Phil Boatwright
Distributor: Warner Bros.

Summary
Crude Language: None
Obscene Language: There are two minor expletives, but no harsh language.
Profanity: Oh God is uttered, but not by Nancy, who prefers Oh goodness.
Violence: A bomb goes off, thugs kidnap Nancy, but she is far too clever for them. Theres also a dangerous car chase and talk of murder, but the filmmakers avoid overt fury.
Sexual Intercourse: None
Nudity: None
Homosexual Conduct: None
Sexually Suggestive Action/Dialog: None
Drug Abuse: None
Other: A ghost appears, but it may just be in a dream. Positive themes concerning being yourself and caring for others, being polite and working toward your goals.
Running Time: 99 minutes
Intended Audience: Preteens and Family

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