Thursday, February 10, 2011

Review: Too Much Nancy Drew in "Nancy Drew" (Happy B'day, Emma Roberts)

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 14 (of 2008) by Leroy Douresseaux

Nancy Drew (2007)
Running time: 99 minutes (1 hour, 39 minutes)
MPAA – PG-13 for mild violence, thematic elements, and brief language
DIRECTOR: Andrew Fleming
WRITERS: Andrew Fleming and Tiffany Paulsen; from a story by Tiffany Paulsen (based upon the characters created by Mildred Wirt Benson writing as Carolyn Keene)
PRODUCER: Jerry Weintraub
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Alexander Gruszynski (D.o.P.)
EDITOR: Jeff Freeman


Starring: Emma Roberts, Josh Flitter, Max Thieriot, Rachael Leigh Cook, Tate Donovan, Marshall Bell, Daniella Monet, Kelly Vitz, Krystle Hernandez, Barry Bostwick, Adam Clark, and Laura Harring (Screen appearances with no screen credit: Bruce Willis, Chris Kattan, and Eddie Jemison)

The 2007 film, Nancy Drew, is a return to the big screen by the famous girl detective.

When her father Carson Drew (Tate Donovan) heads to Los Angeles to take on some high paying temporary legal work, Nancy Drew (Emma Roberts, Julia Roberts’ niece), the resourceful teen detective, is right behind him. She’s leaving her friendly hometown of River Heights for life at Hollywood High School. Nancy’s uncanny intelligence and smarts, as well as her retro manners (including her perfect picnic lunches and penny loafers), earn her some enemies. The less-than-warm reception from reigning fashionistas Inga (Daniella Monet) and Trish (Kelly Vitz) might bother the average new girl, but not Nancy, who has more important things to think about, in particular a brand new mystery.

Nancy promised her worried Dad that she'd quit “sleuthing,” but it isn't long before she gets a lead on one of Hollywood’s greatest unsolved cases of all time: the mysterious circumstances surrounding the death of famous actress Dehlia Draycott (Laura Harring). Nancy happened to make sure that the Drews’ temporary L.A. home is the former Draycott mansion. With Inga’s little brother, Corky (Josh Flitter), tagging along, and a surprise appearance from her hometown sleuthing partner, Ned Nickerson (Max Thieriot), Nancy combs the long-reputed haunted mansion to solve the Draycott mystery, but some shadowy and dangerous figures aren’t happy about that.

The modernization of Nancy Drew took a character known mostly for existing in a rural, small town setting and placed her in the fast-paced and more dangerous big city. This is not necessarily a bad thing, nor is the movie bad. The script sets the supposedly unsophisticated Nancy against the Byzantine urban world, but Nancy ends up looking super sophisticated, while L.A./Hollywood seems to be a world full of narcissistic and selfish morons. It’s fun to watch Nancy basically run roughshod over a world determined to keep her in her place.

It’s a shame that the film has so many good supporting characters, but simply drops them here and there, some with no rhyme or reason. This is a Nancy Drew film that is just too Nancy-centric. Still, in spite of its limitations, Nancy Drew is likeable. It lacks the snappy freshness of the Bonita Granville Nancy Drew movie series made in the late 1930s, but this new Nancy Drew is fun on its own.

6 of 10

Saturday, March 15, 2008


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