“Ramona and Beezus” (2010)

Yeah, I had to wait for the DVD release to be able to see this. I LOVED the Ramona Quimby books when I was a kid, and really wanted to see this one… but I kinda knew my two hyper little boys probably wouldn’t sit through it in the theater. Having seen it now today on DVD, I think I made the right decision. They loved parts of it, but it’s not their cup-o-tea as much as it is MY cup-o-tea!

Me, I liked it. I think it did justice to the literary franchise. Certainly not everything was true to the books, but rarely is a movie EVER true to it’s book [if it’s based on one]. Just like “Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy”, just chill out, remember it’s a MOVIE, and enjoy it for what it is. And in this case, it is very enjoyable. Disney’s most recently-crowned teen princess, Selena Gomez, is appropriately “teen-y”, and Joey King shines in her breakout role as Ramona. I was halfway through the movie, thinking that the guy who plays the dad looks SO familiar, and I finally realized, “Oh yeah, he’s that guy from ‘Northern Exposure!'” lol!

It’s a little over-the-top with the sheer volume of chaos Ramona causes, but I suppose it would be a pretty dull movie if she didn’t wreak that much havoc. The storyline is sugary sweet and pretty predictable, but the eye candy makes up for it. (John Corbett + Josh Duhamel = 2 Thumbs Up from me!) I loved the cutaways to the “imagination moments” of Ramona’s: the caverns under her while on the monkey bars, the parachuting while leaping out of the hole in the house, etc. Those helped show the depth of Ramona’s imagination, in a way that was easy for the books to tell, but harder for a movie to show.

As the movie progressed, I found myself saying, “Yeah, I remember that from the books!”. Considering I’m 35 and haven’t read those books since elementary school, that speaks volumes for both the book series and this movie. That the books left memories deep in the recesses of my brain, and that the movie brought them back, that was pretty impressive.

No scary moments to speak of here, though there is the death of a “supporting” character, which actually made me [almost] cry. But it’s handled in a way that is not traumatic to the viewer. Several moments inspire genuine sympathy for the character, one in particular is vomit-induced, but makes us all remember “those” moments [we all had] in school.

If you liked the books as a kid, have a daughter who likes the books or is about 5 to 13-ish, this deserves a place on your Netflix queue. It could even inspire reading in a kid, to see the movie and want to read more.

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