Recommended for ages 12 and over
Video Release: 7/24/2012
Reviewer: Edwin L. Carpenter
Writer: Leena Pendharkar
Producer: Jeffrey Chu
Director: Leena Pendharkar
Runtime: 82 min.
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Starring: Bella Thorne, Alison Brie, Zach Mills, Lily Javaherpour, Ravi Kapoor, Meera Simhan
Raspberry Magic is a coming-of-age story about Monica Shah, a deeply intelligent and imaginative 11 year-old girl who takes a school science competition to the next level. Set within the backdrop of a beautiful forest, Monica sets out to prove that human warmth and kindness have the ability to actually make plants grow. So, when a bushel of beautiful raspberries seem to respond to her touch, Monica is convinced by the power of the human heart and its ability to connect with the world around her.
Monica, is played by the charming Lily Javaherpour (You Don't Mess with the Zohan). She is joined by a stellar cast, including Bella Thorne, who stars as CeCe Jones in the hit Disney Channel series, Shake It Up; Zach Mills, (Super 8, Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium), Mira Simhan (TV's House, Nip/Tuck); James Morrison (TV's 24, Six Feet Under); Allison Brie (The Five-Year Engagement, TV's Mad Men); Randall Batinkoff (Kick Ass, X Men: First Class); Maulik Pancholy (TV's 30 Rock, Weeds). The film even features a special appearance by Moodles the Robot who was built specifically for Raspberry Magic by the Alexandra Institute's Dr. Jakob Fredslund.
This is a realistic story of an Indian family who lives in America and wants to live the American dream. Unfortunately, the dad, who is a video game developer, has been unable to sell an educational video game he hopes to market, and the mom has her hopes dashed regarding the publishing of a cook book filled with many of her recipes. The plumbing needs fixing in the kitchen, just as the funds dry up, and on top of this young Monica (Lily Havaherpour) comes in second in her school's science contest when she had planned on finishing first. It doesn't help that the winner, a kid named Zachary, likes to boast that he beat out Monica.
Despite Mom and Dad's temporary separation when their arguments increase, Dad gives Monica great advice: to try, try again after a failure and to find a way to succeed. He and Mom must heed that sage advice themselves and Monica soon comes up with a plan involving raspberries to move forward in the next big science competition. This movie demonstrates a nice theme of perseverance and we are awarding it our Dove Seal, for ages twelve and above, due to a few utterances of strong language. This one may inspire the viewer to try, try again!
Sex: A married woman's publisher flirts with her but nothing comes of it; a single mother tells her daughter she is spending the night with her boyfriend Tom and leaves the young girl with her school mate at home.
Language: G/OMG-1; D-3; H-1; S-2; B-1; Husband calls wife a nag.
Violence: Family arguments as money is tight and a man loses his job; a man tells is wife he can't stand to be around her but this changes later on; a girl falls while trying to climb up on a counter but she is all right; a man is seen grabbing a woman in anger.
Drugs: Wine is consumed in a few scenes; man buys beer and drinks a beer.
Nudity: Man seen in boxers.
Other: A comment in passing about mysticism; a man lies to his wife about losing his job but then admits it; a boy pours acid on a girl's plant for a science project; a woman sleeps and won't clean the house or do dishes due to depression but her daughters help clean up and she eventually comes out of the depression.