Thursday, December 16, 2010
When I was a curious munchkin myself, I used to disappear into the Ramona Quimby books by Beverly Cleary. The overzealous and sometimes mischievous little girl was an inspiration to an 8-year-old with her own adventurous spirit.
And while I didn't get into as many sticky situations as Ramona, I could still console myself after parental admonitions that some other kid had managed to have it worse than I did.
After all, I'd never spilled paint all over my neighbor's car.
That's why when I had the opportunity to review this year's DVD incarnation of the books, "Ramona and Beezus" (SRP $29.98), from Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment and Walden Media, I was curious to see how the adventures would play out on screen.
And, for the most part, it works.
The story centers on Ramona Quimby (played by the adorable Joey King), a naturally curious elementary school girl who mingles that curiosity with a true lack of embarrassment -- a blessing or a curse, depending on how you look at it. She and her sister, Beezus (Disney favorite Selena Gomez) have to deal with the fact that their dad (John Corbett) has just been laid off, which is affecting their home life in a big way.
In the process, Ramona has to deal with just getting through the day at school -- a difficult task when you get stuck upside-down on playground equipment or cover yourself in mud.
The most important thing in this movie was to nail the Ramona character, which King did with total charm. There's a fine line between being sympathetically ornery and just plain obnoxious, and King really pulled it off.
It was the adults who were a little less compelling, taking a way back seat to the childhood antics. While this G-rated movie was perfectly appropriate for CC, she's still a little young to sit through the entire film. But for kids who are a few years older, this is a fun entertainment option. Parents, though, might not be as entertained.
A couple of DVD extras, which weren't on the screener I received, sound like great additions to the movie, particularly "My Ramona with Beverly Cleary" and "Show & Tell Film School -- Tips and tricks on how kids can make their own movie."