Sunday, June 17, 2007

Nancy Drew: Cluelessly In Pursuit of Clues

The movie "Nancy Drew" answers the question nobody asked: What would Nancy Drew be like if you plucked her straight from the pages of her books and plopped her down in 21st century L.A.? The answer is a plucky, precocious, pretty young sleuth cluelessly pursuing clues. Calling Nancy clueless is not an insult. It is part of the quirky charm of the movie. Nancy is brilliant, business-like , and perfect. She just doesn't seem to have a clue (most of the time) that she is a walking , talking anachronism. She even drives a Nash Metropolitan, which is the most uncool convertible ever made and possibly even more uncool than Steve Urkel's Isetta. But nothing, not even the disdain of the cool girls, dissuades her from pursuing the mystery of the mansion that she and her father have rented in L.A.

This movie uses the same device as the "The Brady Bunch Movie" where the Brady's are plucked from the '70s in their polyester britches and deposited in the '90s. Nancy, her Dad, Carson, her best friend/boyfriend, Ned, and the town of River Heights all seem to exist in a '50s time warp while the rest of the world has moved on. But this doesn't keep Nancy from driving a rented Ford Escape, using a Mac Book for online sleuthing, or carrying a nifty GPS enabled cell phone. The end result is a quirky and loving send up of the Nancy Drew series.

Look for the ever ironic, self-deprecating Bruce Willis playing himself in a cameo.

Some critics worry that you can't take the kids back to River Heights after they've seen the CG special effects of Harry Potter, Narnia, and countless others. Well, they're wrong. Kids still enjoy the occasional simple movie with a story and acting. Speaking of which, Emma Roberts does a great job of playing Nancy straight up without a hint of irony or condescension. Someday she may even be as pretty as her Aunt Julia. Lucky for her she looks a lot more like her Aunt Julia, than her father, Eric.

This is a worthwhile movie for the whole family. All four of us enjoyed it. And that's my bottom line for any movie --- did I enjoy it? I'll leave the nitpicking of cinematography vs. direction vs. plot to the critics. I only worry about enjoying the movie and not comparing one movie to another.

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