What Parents Should Know
Parents need to know that the big-screen Nancy Drew is very retro and straightlaced. And although she's being marketed to older tweens and young teens, even slightly younger kids will enjoy the teenage sleuth's harmless action. There are a few "good scary" moments (a face pops up in a dark room), and even though Nancy is forced to flee from armed henchmen and is even held at gunpoint, she never really seems like she'd be the victim of anything. It's worth noting that there are several prominent product placements, mostly computer and Internet related.
Families can talk about what makes Nancy a good role model for tween and teen girls. How does she compare to other movie characters -- or real-life "role models" like Lindsay Lohan and Paris Hilton? Why did the other girls in the movie make fun of Nancy? What made them change their mind? During the movie, Nancy realizes that doing the "right" thing conflicts with her fathers rules. Is it sometimes OK to disobey your parents if it's for the greater good? Last but not least, fans of the Nancy Drew books can weigh in on whether they think the movie stayed true to the novels. Which do you like better, and why?
Common Sense Media Review
NANCY DREW -- updated by director Andrew Fleming in the form of perky Emma Roberts -- is equal parts goody two-shoes and intuitive investigator. As the throwback "sleuth" (an anachronistic word in and of itself), Roberts is an excellent role model for obedience and good citizenship, but there's a certain oomph missing in this modernized take on the teen detective.
Nancy and her dad, Carson (Tate Donovan), leave their Midwestern hometown of River Heights for Los Angeles, where they stay in a mysterious mansion in which a beautiful Hollywood star named Dehlia Draycott (Laura Elena Harring) wound up dead.
Nancy has promised her dad that, instead of sleuthing, she'll try to be "normal" -- if that's possible in 2007 for an 18-year-old who wears penny loafers and twin-sets to a Hollywood high school. But eventually she can't help herself, and she starts digging away at the circumstances surrounding Dehlia's death.
With the aid of an obnoxious, adoring 12-year-old freshman named Corky (Josh Flitter), her low-tech detective kit, her signature blue roadster, and her cute-but-completely-uncharismatic (boy)friend Ned (Max Thieriot), Nancy has everything a girl needs to solve a 25-year-old mystery.
But the bigger puzzle is how Roberts -- who stars in her own Nickelodeon show, Unfabulous , and is Julia's niece -- doesn't make Nancy as vibrant and endearing as she was on the page. Sure, she's sweet, and she proves that girls don't need guys to save them from peril, but her adolescent Sherlock Holmes isn't engaging enough to merit another movie mystery.
Families who like young detectives will enjoy the Spy Kids trilogy, Harriet the Spy, and Agent Cody Banks.
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