Nancy Drew
Holy Crap! I thought Rachael Leigh Cook was dead!

Theatrical Release Date: 06/15/2007
Director: Andrew Fleming
Cast: Emma Roberts, Josh Flitter, Max Thieriot

So Hollywood has finally gotten around to rummaging through some more kids’ books and they have unleashed “Nancy Drew” unto the world. The obvious demographic is girls between the ages of 8 and 11 … not sure what their buying power is these days but apparently it’s enough to warrant a movie now and then (see “The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants” and “Aquamarine” for other examples … or don’t).

Oddly enough, Emma Roberts stars in this as well as the aforementioned “Aquamarine” so I guess she’s the “it” girl of her generation. Sadly, my perverted mind keeps confusing her name with Emma Watson and I had to quickly shift mental gears once the film began.

I suppose it was the critic in me who thought it would be fun to trash a silly film for little girls. However, I have to admit I found “Nancy Drew” quite pleasant. Sure, it’s not going to win any accolades that don’t involve awards shows dumping green slime on their hosts – but it’s a lighthearted, good-natured romp that the whole family can pass the time with.

I sat behind a set of parents with three children, all between the ages of “I crap my pants” and “Mommy, I want that”, and I still was able to enjoy my time in the world of “Nancy Drew”. And it’s in that world where the film succeeds. Director Andrew Fleming did a wonderful job of mixing the 50′s goody-goody nature of Nancy Drew with the modern Los Angeles scene.

The costuming was pitch perfect and the actors all played their delightfully stereotypical roles just the way they used to in all those Saturday afternoon films that followed our beloved cartoons.

Of special note is Barry Bostwick who is a personal favorite of mine ever since such screen gems as “Megaforce” and “The Skulls III” (yes they made a third film). You could just tell that he had a marvelous time playing his part and it translated to the goofy grin on my face as I remembered his trademark goodbye kiss of the thumb from “Megaforce”.

Also, there is a pretty good uncredited cameo by Bruce Willis that will help keep the adults interested. Perhaps the only misstep to the film is Rachael Leigh Cook. While I love seeing her on-screen again (Where would Western Civilization be without such cinematic marvels as “She’s All That” or “Antitrust”), she completely overplayed her part … much like her role as an aspiring collegiate actress in “Dawson’s Creek”.

Still, this is the kind of innocuous film that parents can feel safe letting their younger kids enjoy and even big kids like me can find a sense of satisfaction in seeing a kids film done right. I’m giving “Nancy Drew” a 3 out of 5. If Cook hadn’t been so over the top and the writers had figured out a way to be more inclusive of the cast in solving the mystery, then this would have earned another ratings point. But if you’ve got a young kid at home, especially one missing a Y chromosome, you’ll be pleasantly amused by Nancy and her pals.