MOVIE REVIEW: Ramona and Beezus

pleasant, sincere, likable, wholesome

I knew it would happen eventually: I take the daughter to a movie that doesn’t scare her (cf. Princess and the Frog, Despicable Me) or totally bore me (Alvin and the Chipmunks 2).

Ramona and Beezus is a story based on Beverly Cleary’s apparently popular children’s book series, which I had never heard of; obviously, I live in a cultural desert. Ramona Quimby (Joey King) is a nine-year-old middle child, stuck between her beautiful high sister Beatrice, who baby Ramona had dubbed Beezus (Selena Gomez – Wizards of Waverly Place), and the new baby.

Ramona, her rambunctious, free-spirited imagination on high, doesn’t know how to draw inside the lines. This is alternately interesting and frustrating to Beezus and to the parents, Robert (John Corbett – everything from Northern Exposure to My Big Fat Greek Wedding to Sex and the City) and Dorothy (Bridget Moynahan – Six Degrees). Ramona does have an ally in her Aunt Bea (Ginnifer Goodwin – Ed, Big Love), who relates to being the younger sister. Bea is horrified to learn that Hobart (Josh Duhamel – Transformers) the boy who broke her heart in high school is back in town, and Bea and Ramona agree to keep Hobart at arm’s length.

Meanwhile, in school, Ramona cannot be bothered with traditional rules, such as spelling, much to the consternation of her teacher, Mrs. Meacham (Sandra Oh – Grey’s Anatomy, Sideways).

There’s a family crisis and Ramona is asked to step up, and she really tries, but her efforts go a bit haywire. In this context, I particularly enjoyed the evolving relationship between the two title characters, and between Ramona and her dad.

Describing more would fall into spoiler territory. Suffice to say, these are the words I would use to describe the film: pleasant, sincere, likable, wholesome. This sounds like being damned with faint praise, but it is not meant to be. I enjoyed it, and I don’t regret having seen it. Don’t necessarily need to see it again, but I’m not the target audience.

The movie received a 73% positive rating, as of this writing in Rotten Tomatoes. Here’s the official site for the film.

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