NANCY DREW (***) - Starring Emma Roberts, Tate Donovan, Josh Flitter, Max Thierot, Rachael Leigh Cook, Barry Bostwick, Caroline Aaron, Marshall Bell, Pat Carroll, Laura Harring and Chris Kattan.
Directed by Andrew Fleming.
I was caught by surprise how much I enjoyed watching this movie with my ten-year-old daughter. I grew up reading a Nancy Drew mystery or two, and the preview made it look like they just thrust her into a Mean Girls situation. While that aspect is here, there's also a Scooby Doo level mystery, and loyalty to the sprit of Drew herself.
My first concern was the modernization, but the film starts in River Heights, where Drew has solved pretty much every mystery there, and cops and criminals know that Drew can crack any case. She's Batman in penny-loafers.
Her dad gets a new job, which transplants her to Hollywood, CA. She must goodbye to reliable sidekicks Bess and George, and hello to Corky, a 12-year-old who was moved up a few grades so he could hit on his sister's friends. Her new house, of course, is the center of a mystery, of an unsolved murder involving a famous actress. While the mystery may contain elements of The Black Dahlia and Sunset Boulevard, it's all done within the PG wholesomeness of any Drew case.
The Mean Girls aspect is there, but Nancy is immune to peer pressure. Her mild manners and gee-whiz entusiasm for a good mystery are unflappable. I think the casting of Emma Roberts (Eric's daughter; Julia's niece) is the brightest bit of inspiration in the movie. Too bad this didn't do too well at the box office. I would have been open to taking my daughter to the next Nancy Drew movie.