The adventures of young Ramona Quimby (newcomer Joey King) and her big sister Beezus (Selena Gomez) come to life in this all-new film based on the best-selling books (over 30 million…and counting) by Beverly Cleary. Ramona's vivid imagination, boundless energy, and accident-prone antics keep everyone she meets on their toes. But when Dad loses his job, her irrepressible sense of fun, adventure and mischief come in handy when she puts her mind to helping save her family's home.
She's a Pest but She's Still Something Special
Ramona is a mischievous daydreamer, part American Girl, part Marmaduke, and all fun. But what will excite parents and educators alike is the nature of the two lead characters. The sensitive and inquisitive little girl is faced with the realities of an unjust world (dads can lose their jobs) and manages to meet these challenges with compassion and confidence. Her older sister, perpetually annoyed by her sibling's antics, is no less loving of her "pest," well aware that Ramona is something special. They share a bond that only sisters can know, and the two young actresses' screen affection comes across as genuine.
Though containing the prerequisite amount of kid-pleasin' slapstick, the humor is often witty enough to hold the attention of moms and dads, and the subject matter of family relationships is handled with sensitivity. Writers Laurie Craig and Nick Pustay keep to the tone of the books, and director Elizabeth Allen handles both fantasy and melodrama with aplomb. The actors are all credible, with John Corbett his usual easygoing self as a role-model dad, and little Joey King is not just a heart-stealer (can I adopt her?), but a skilled thespian, able to effectively handle both comic gags and the more gentle moments.
A Needed Saving Grace
In an era when schools are prevented from teaching ethics and morality, children's books and films aimed at youngsters are a needed saving grace. And though older sisters may prefer Twilight's Bella, and film buffs more moved by To Kill A Mockingbird, Ramona and Beezus is a film that will soulfully entertain an often neglected portion of the movie-going audience – little girls.
Ramona and Beezus is rated G (the term "jerk" is used twice; no bad language; at one point Ramona gets mad and wants to swear, but the worst she can conjure is "guts;" Ramona gets scared the first night she has to sleep alone in her new bedroom; the parents celebrate with a bottle of champagne; a beloved pet dies and the father loses his job, but lessons are learned and all is well by film's end).
Running Time: 104 min.
Intended Audience: Family