Nancy Drew

4 out of 5 stars
WATCHING THE DETECTIVE Roberts goes by the book.
WATCHING THE DETECTIVE Roberts goes by the book.

Time Out says

4 out of 5 stars

Exit Lindsay in a flashbulb stupor; enter Emma Roberts, fresh as a tween daisy. She is, of course, the niece of a famous grinner. Those genes may assure her a piece of American Sweetheartdom. But just as Lohan showed us in Freaky Friday, Roberts is at her best when she rears into starchy rectitude, playing a grown-up trapped in a girl’s body. This may be the only way to successfully bring yesterday’s teen sleuth into the post-Columbine high-school cafeteria: not kicking and screaming, but like some geeked-out relic who charms adults first and peers second.

Andrew Fleming’s witty Nancy Drew plays that time warp to the hilt, fitting Nancy out with some Sidekick-addled frienemies and a chubby Seinfeldian hanger-on (Flitter), but only to emphasize her retro charms—which a store clerk perfectly describes as “the new sincerity.” (When Nancy’s father discovers she’s accidentally thrown a wild party, he squeals with joy.) Roberts may lean in for a chaste smooch with nice boy Ned (Thieriot), but it almost seems an afterthought.

Who knows how this is going to play with the surly generation that just watched Paris Hilton being carted off to jail? The movie’s probably not even for them. Rather, it’s for Mulholland Drive fans: The mystery takes Nancy to an uncommonly well-scouted Los Angeles, where nighttime car chases and the ghostly presence of Laura Harring seal the deal. This feels more like pop Twin Peaks than anything else; call it the new Hollywood sincerity. (Opens Fri; Click here for venues.) — Joshua Rothkopf



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