Ramona and Beezus

5 Aug

Title: Ramona and Beezus
Year: 2010
Director: Elizabeth Allen
Writers: Laurie Craid and Nick Pustay, based on the series of children’s novels by Beverly Cleary
Starring: Joey King, Selena Gomez, Ginnifer Goodwin, John Corbett, Bridget Moynahan, Sandra Oh, Josh Duhamel
MPAA Rating: G
Runtime: 103 min
Major Awards:
IMDb Rating: 6.0
Rotten Tomatoes: 74%

Ramona and Beezus ends up being a sweet film, rather bright and sunny and 100% harmless, but it’s not really a good film because it’s not that charming, it’s a film that’ll work for grandmothers wanting to treat their very young grandchildren to a sweet enough film, but other than that it really doesn’t achieve anything. It’s the sort of film that you wouldn’t mind watching on television with a younger sister or niece or whatever other infant relative you might have on a boring weekend afternoon, but not the sort of film you would pay to go see at a theatre.

I will say one thing though, and that is that there is a market for this sort of film, it’s not the sort of film I would personally go for, but being as it is so harmless and just plain wholesome there are some parents that seriously love that and want their kids to see those values in a film, and that’s something that has been missing from theaters in a while, since the options for live-action films that could appeal to kids have been limited to Twilight and Harry Potter and the likes, which, even though they may be better than this film, are getting darker every installment, so this film will find some parents that will like it as healthy option for their kids, not nearly as many parents as those who will give their kids money to go see a shirtless werewolf and epic wizard battles, but still.

Again, this isn’t a bad film, but it’s not much of anything else, either, and sometimes that’s even worse to me, I’d rather have a sort of bad film that at least tried than this sort of spectacle, the type of film that doesn’t dare do anything even remotely outside its comfort zone, and in the case of Ramona and Beezus that comfort zone is pretty damn limiting. From what I understand, though, the source material for this one is pretty damn rich, a series of children novels written by a woman who’s now over 90 and that has been going on for over a half a century, so yes, this is beloved material, and even though I haven’t read any of them I realize that they must have some sort of charm and appeal to have lasted for so long, but you couldn’t tell that from just watching the film adaptation, since absolutely nothing of that was translated into it.

The only bright spot in the film is the young Joey King, who plays Ramona, here is a sweet little girl that is just good at playing that sort of mischievous infant who gets away with everything because she seems innocent and looks cute, not to say that Ramona is a bad girl, she’s not, she just causes trouble because that’s how intrepid and adventurous little girls many times are, and Joey King plays that convincingly enough, she’s the one bright spot in an otherwise sweet-but-not-great little film.

I’m trying to shine a positive light on Ramona and Beezus, my final grade for it won’t be as nice because this is a film that I personally didn’t like, and that’s just as good, because it wasn’t made for the demographic I am in, it was made for little kids, and they’ll probably love it, they’ll identify with the character, they will love Joey King as Ramona, and they will love that Selena Gomez is there, because she has been huge as a Disney Channel star and kids respond to her, and as that I guess the film works, as a really light film that’s for the most part rather sweet but is nothing more than that in the end, and that’s all right, I just think that I would have responded better to this film if it, like Selena Gomez, had stayed on the Disney Channel and not made its way to the big screen.

Grade: C

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