"Ramona and Beezus" DVD, Blu-ray Movie Review

11/15/2010 Posted by Admin

"Ramona and Beezus"

DVD, Blu-ray Movie Review

Directed by Elizabeth Allen, Written by Laurie Craid and Nick Pustay, 107 Minutes, Rated G

By our guest blogger, Rob Stammitti

The "Ramona" series by author Beverly Cleary was a staple in my early grade school years. I recall reading a good deal of them, and they were generally enjoyable. Lots of imagination and optimism, if nothing else.

I don't recall enough about them to say for sure whether "Ramona and Beezus," an adaptation of various aspects of the children's novels, is accurate, but it definitely maintains that same level of fun and creativity, and it definitely doesn't get much more optimistic than this.

Third grader Ramona (Joey King) is a rambunctious little thing. She finds joy in everything--she makes playing on the jungle gym into an epic adventure through canyons and jumping into piles of dirt into skydiving, but with all her energy and imagination, she drives her family a bit crazy.

Her big sister, Beatrice (Selena Gomez), who has taken on the nickname "Beezus" because of how Ramona pronounced her name as an infant, is especially bothered by Ramona's relentless irreverence. Nonetheless, she, her sister, and their parents (John Corbett and Bridget Moynahan) are very close, and Ramona can also find solace in her Aunt Bea (Ginnifer Goodwin), who shares Ramona's sentiments about being a younger sister, and who is always there for Ramona.

Trouble arises when Ramona's father loses his job and Ramona is pressured to ease back on her frivolousness for the sake of her family. Of course, that's pretty hard for an imaginative little girl to do.

There's not much at stake here, that's for sure. It's pretty episodic in nature, mostly due to the picking and choosing of various stories from the books, so most big conflicts are settled pretty easily and generally in very heartwarming ways. The film is as unapologetically optimistic as Ramona herself, and it's hard to fault it for that when it conveys that optimism so well. It really is a good deal of fun.

Joey King is really wonderful, certainly one of the better recent child performances out there, and most of the cast is able to match her enthusiasm. Gomez is pretty much the perfect pick for her big sister, and her subtlety and charm really goes to show how far wholesomeness can go (Miley Cyrus could certainly learn a thing or two from her).

The adults do what they have to do--basically act in the background and letting the kids have their fun--but Corbett and Goodwin are pretty solid for stock characters, and Josh Duhamel pops in here and there as Goodwin's old high school beau. He's charming, as per usual. The only weak link is Moynahan, and even then it's only because she actually portrays Ramona's mother as you'd expect her to be. The heavy weight she seems to carry kind of spoils the tone of the film, though, so maybe she should have held back a bit.

Honestly, it's hard not to like a film so upbeat. It has its slow moments, and it's not exactly on par with some of the best family films out there, but it's great for the kids (if they've already seen "Toy Story 3," of course) and it won't bore parents to death either.

Grade: B-

View the trailer for "Ramona and Beezus below. What are your thoughts of the movie?

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