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Wild Child


Stars: Emma Roberts, Natasha Richardson, Aidan Quinn, Shirley Henderson, Alex Pettyfer, Georgia King, Juno Temple, Nick Frost, Kimberly Nixon

Director: Nick Moore

We've seen Hollywood's idea of an American teenager at an English boarding school before, and it's no more convincing here than it has been in the past. 14-year-old peroxide blonde Poppy (Roberts), out of control at home), is sent by her father (Quinn) to Abbey Mount, somewhere in the wilds of Scotland by the look of it, but where her late mother boarded as a girl.

Everything here is caricature, from the head (Richardson, bringing some warmth to a poorly-written part) and her impossibly handsome son (Pettyfer) to the head girl (a way-over-the-top King). Everyone hates Poppy, with her Barbie-doll talk and ways, and Poppy herself just wants to behave badly enough to be expelled and get back to California.

In time, of course, she learns about friendship and the values that count, lets her hair grow back brown and becomes the star of the school lacrosse team. It does get a little more tolerable as it goes on, but none of rings true, and Roberts is only barely more likeable when she reforms. Dreadful script, jerky direction - this was never a going proposition from the start.

It is, however, quite suitable for younger girls, despite the rather harsh 12A certificate.

David Quinlan

USA 2008. UK Distributor: Universal. Colour.
98 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 12A.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 0, Drugs 0, Swearing 1.

Review date: 10 Aug 2008