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Ramona and Beezus


Stars: Joey King, Selena Gomez, John Corbett, Bridget Moynahan, Ginnifer Goodwin, Josh Duhamel, Jason Spivack, Sierra McCormick, Sandra Oh, Kate Zenna, Janet Wright, Ruby Curtis, Hutch Dano, Patti Allan, Garnet Harding

Director: Elizabeth Allen

In the anything-goes contemporary cinematic world where Quentin Tarantino is acclaimed as a true auteur, torture porn like ‘Saw’ is considered cutting edge and four-letter words are considered de rigueur, finding a film like this charming visualization of Beverly Cleary’s fifty-year-old best-selling children’s books is as unlikely in its own way as Kenneth Williams would have been as Attila the Hun in a seriously-intended biopic.

Almost uniquely these days, everyone of any dramatic import in Allen’s delightful tale of a feisty nine-year-old King (who turns a potentially sugar-saturated role into a thoroughly likeable and funny portrait of mischief and redemption) saving the family home when her father Corbett loses his job are genuinely pleasant to meet. Which is not to say screenwriters Laurie Craig and Nick Pustay have create a collection of unbelievable goody-two shoes. They may be unlikely in current cinema but first-rate casting and playing to match bring the characters attractively to life. They convince in context. And that context is one of those pleasantly sanitised suburbs so beloved of Spielberg but which here are credible rather than aspirational.

Which isn’t to say sentimental sogginess is allowed to set in. Allen sees to that. And the result is the combination of a sufficiently inventive storyline, pleasing performances all round and a genuinely welcome happy ending makes Ramona and Beezus ideal family entertainment - the most shocking (deliberately so and really funny in context) four-letter word is “guts!” put over with wit and real appeal by all concerned.

Alan Frank

USA 2010. UK Distributor: 20th Century Fox. Colour by deluxe.
105 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: U.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 0, Drugs 0, Swearing 0.

Review date: 21 Oct 2010