Just like any other well-rounded girl of my generation, I grew up on Nancy Drew. Carolyn Keene’s fresh-faced ingénue detective has been the heroine of girls the world over for decades, and for good reason—she’s smart, she’s pretty, she’s not afraid to face the unknown, and let’s face it, she’s got a great car. Who wouldn’t want to be Nancy Drew?
When ads first started airing for the movie, I was a bit concerned. The Nancy of the books is a little older than the actress in the movie—Movie Nancy is still in high school. But I decided to give the movie a go.
Nancy Drew is a high-school student who excels in everything she does. She gets good grades, she’s the perfect daughter to her lawyer father, and as the film opens, we see her diffuse a scary hostage situation with her winning attitude and a lemon bar. Her hometown of River Heights depends on her wit and cunning to keep their crime element under control.
But when her father, Carson Drew, is asked to go to California to help with a law case, Nancy’s world changes. She’s no longer the most popular girl in school. That role is already taken, and the popular girls don’t appreciate Nancy’s wholesome approach to life and her way of being the best at everything. They spend their time making her school days miserable, and she spends her time solving the mystery that came along with the house they rented, which used to belong to a famous Hollywood actress.
Of course, Nancy opens a can of worms. It wouldn’t be a true Nancy Drew without that. But the peril is always mild. No one ever really gets hurt in a Nancy Drew. She solves the case, wins the respect of her schoolmates, and gets a kiss from Ned Nickerson as the credits roll.
What I liked about the film: Nancy sets a good example of a girl who’s comfortable with herself. She doesn’t feel the need to impress other people or to play to their expectations. The mystery is just complex enough to engage the preteen viewer without being so full of plot twists, we become confused.
What I didn’t like: Nancy does come across as self-important much of the time, and the film was also a little campy. I agree that the books themselves are a little campy, but the movie gave the impression of trying to be a modern take on the old story, and so in my opinion, it should also become more authentic and less campy. There was a small amount of language.
Overall, we enjoyed this film. My daughter pulled out her sewing supplies to replicate Nancy’s detective kit, and I have the feeling many mysteries are soon to be investigated here on the Pinkston homefront. This movie was rated PG.
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