The plot of Nancy Drew (2007), which involves a dead movie star’s illegitimate daughter, is not really proper for the demographic for which the movie is intended. Worse, the plot becomes just this side of stupid. How, then, does Andrew Fleming’s commercial pic manage to be so entertaining?
To begin with, the Nancy Who Doesn’t Fit In is on center stage (hooray!): At Hollywood High she’s the new girl with her retro ways and her unusual sleuthing in a world of potential kid killers. She wears penny loafers, keeps her hair straight, and is a big believer in courtesy. Laura Elena Harring exits from Lynch’s Mulholland Drive, only to get murdered in Nancy Drew. She enacts a beloved film star whose mysterious death in the 1970s Nancy investigates.
Curious stuff—sufficiently curious to be rather engaging—but that’s not all: When the movie tries for humor, it’s witty. Daniella Monet, as snooty teen Inga, gets some of the top lines, e.g. the one about Nancy’s “podiatrist.” The cast is fun. What kind of range she has, or will have later, I don’t know, but toothy Emma Roberts is irresistible as Sleuth Drew. Monet, Josh Flitter and Barry Bostwick are comically strong as well. Alexander Gruszynski’s cinematography impresses with its now playful, now sinister color and light. One could do worse than a non-parodic Emma-as-Nancy franchise. (This was written in 2007. No such franchise came about.)
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