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Nancy Drew
cast: Emma Roberts, Tate Donovan, Josh Flitter, Rachael Leigh Cook, and Bruce Willis

director: Andrew Fleming

99 minutes (PG) 2006
widescreen ratio 2.35:1
Warner DVD Region 2 retail

RATING: 6/10
reviewed by James A. Stewart
Created in the 1930s, Nancy Drew is Carolyn Keene's most famous and adored creation. Nancy has gone on to resolve more than 350 mysteries over seven decades ever since her first appearance in The Hidden Staircase. Throughout the decades there have been a number of adaptations of Keene's books, but in this latest offering, director Andrew Fleming - who is also on screenplay duty - does a charming job of maintaining Nancy's innocence and character. In keeping with the fact that we are already hurtling through the 21st century, Nancy is a teenager making that difficult transition from small town to a large school named Hollywood High. In addition, she has promised her father she will give up detective work in order to lead a normal teenage life. You can see where this is going...

The plot is quirky and fun, the target audience will love Emma Roberts (Spymate, Aquamarine) as Nancy and moreover, the good guys win. This isn't a plot spoiler - just an inevitable part of the script. Dehlia Draycott's death has been a mystery for some time and Nancy is sucked into investigating it. This leads Nancy and her new friend Corky (Josh Flitter) into some dangerous situations. Now let's be very clear - this is not a stretching thriller or even a moderately suspenseful piece of celluloid. No, it is a kids' film that is well shot and in the main reasonably well presented and acted.

Nancy Drew is a heroine to many young girls of today and yesteryear - and in this film it should not be forgotten where and when Nancy first came into being. She is a resourceful and strong young lady, making a difference as well as showing great deductive skills. It would be easy to dismiss the movie on the basis of it being another teen movie, but that would be lazy. There is the usual smattering of teen-angst, a love interest who suffers from jealousy and a young lady who is desperate to help others, please others and solve crimes.

The new Nancy Drew is an admirable adaptation of Keene's creation and brings a modern dint to a classic character. Fleming handles the characters well and whilst Nancy is no Sherlock Holmes she can certainly find her way around a series of (usually quite timely) clues to get to the end of mystery. This is one for the teens and pre-teens in your home, and just maybe for those 30+ women out there who enjoyed the written adventures of Keene's young heroine while growing up.
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