Ramona and Beezus

Movies
2 out of 5 stars
Ramona and Beezus

Time Out says

2 out of 5 stars

She’s been brave and she’s been a pest, but until this adaptation of Beverly Cleary’s beloved children’s books, pint-size protagonist Ramona Quimby has never been so blatantly market-driven. Proving that Hollywood can turn anything into a max-appeal mlange, Elizabeth Allen’s film courts not only mischievous nine-year-olds, but also their hunk-hungry parents. All dancing eyes and pinchable cheeks, the appropriately adorable Ramona (King) is a free spirit who, as her teenage sister, Beezus (Gomez), says, “isn’t afraid to color outside of the lines.” She gets lost in fantasies, makes up her own words and has no idea how charming she is. The movie dutifully sprinkles in high jinks from the kid-lit series—yes, a tube of toothpaste does get fully evacuated—but focuses more on the drama of Daddy Quimby (Corbett) and his sudden unemployment.

Ramona’s bumbling attempts to save her family from financial ruin sound a poignant topical note, but Cleary’s old-school wit is shucked in favor of easy emotional cues and “Walking on Sunshine”--scored montages. King and tween queen Gomez have a convincing rapport, yet their relationship is central in title only. A tender scene in which Beezus crawls into Ramona’s bed for sisterly comfort is immediately followed by a smarmy Uncle Hobart macking on a sprinkler-soaked Aunt Bea—morphing this diverting kids movie into a tepid rom-com, replete with a nostalgic Bangles tune, in one fell swoop. Our underage heroine has every right to wish the icky kissing would stop.—Eric Hynes

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