Ramona and Beezus isn’t such a bad film and especially for one starring a kid, I wasn’t overly annoyed as I often am with child actors. The story and performances are pretty standard for a G-rated comedy/drama and I doubt I’ll even remember it in a couple of hours, but I think some families will enjoy it.
Ramona and Beezus (2010)
Fox | G – 103 min. – $29.98 | October 9, 2010
Directed by: Elizabeth Allen
Writer(s): Beverly Cleary (novels); Laurie Craig and Nick Pustay (screenplay)
Cast: Joey King, Selena Gomez, John Corbett, Bridget Moynahan, Ginnifer Goodwin, Josh Duhamel, Sandra Oh
Theatrical Release Date: July 23, 201
Features: Deleted Scenes, Gag Reel, Featurettes
Number of Discs: 1
Audio: English (Dolby Digital 5.1), French (Dolby Digital Surround)
Video: Widescreen 2.40
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish
THE MOVIE – 2.5/5
Based on a series of novels by Beverly Cleary (a fellow Oregonian), Ramona and Beezus stars youngster Joey King as Ramona Quimby, she’s the middle child of the Quimby clan with a toddler younger sister and older sis Beatrice a.k.a. Beezus (SELENA GOMEZ). The movie follows Ramona as she makes her way through childhood as she’s obviously different from her classmate counterparts as she resists going along with the norm.
At home things are about to get turned upside down when her father, Robert Quimby (JOHN CORBETT), is let go from his job and mother Dorothy (BRIDGET MOYNAHAN) takes on a part-time job to help out as they also were amidst adding a new room to the house. So Ramona takes it upon herself to help the family out fearing that they will lose the house.
Meanwhile, there are a couple sub-plotlines: First, Ramona’s Aunt Bea (GINNIFER GOODWIN) helps out with babysitting duties and receives a visit from her high school sweetheart named oddly enough, Hobart (JOSH DUHAMEL), whose mother happens to live next door. The second, and a little more minor, involves Beezus and her best friend who she’s developed a crush on.
Obviously I’m way outside the demographics for Ramona and Beezus and as someone who doesn’t have kids or really know anyone that well with kids, I never even heard of the book series. That being said, while the movie isn’t very good and until a certain moment (which I will mention later), is fairly harmless family fun.
One thing that helped me get through the film is the fact that Joey King isn’t the typical annoying child actor I often have to groan my way through until the end. Yes, she plays the somewhat unrealistic precocious child who has insights into the world that no one else does, but she is charming enough to takes us through the 100-minute running time. Equally, Gomez does a nice job playing the annoyed older sister balancing meanness with heart as she must deal with her younger sister during the family troubles.
The supporting cast is good enough given that the central and more expanded roles are for the kids. John Corbett plays up the cool father, Bridget Moynahan is the loving mother and Ginnifer Goodwin is the fun aunt who provides insight to Ramona about being a younger sister. Also in the film are Sandra Oh as Ramona’s stern teacher and Josh “Transformers” Duhamel in a smallish role.
Ramona and Beezus is a harmless family movie, that is, until towards the end. I guess this could be considered a spoiler, but revealing it won’t ruin your day so… what happens is Ramona decides to run away believing that nobody in the family cares about her and they’d be better off without her (after she causes some havoc). So mom gets a big suitcase out, packs it up and wishes her a safe travel. That’s all well and good but then apparently she and the rest of the family leave her out of their sight as Ramona drags the suitcase to a bus stop, opens it up and hear her mother’s voice via a baby monitor who sounds a tad worried about where Ramona is. In this day and age it seems a bit careless to give a child that much distance where anything could happen. Of course, that sequence might’ve taken place in one of the books which was probably written during a different time. All things considered, it’s only a mildly distracting factor.
Overall, Ramona and Beezus is a film the entire family can watch. It is thankfully void of many of the pratfalls I often notice in the G-rated TV series and films with obnoxious kids, zany sound effects and lame storylines. That said it’s still not a very good movie since I’m easily out of the targeted demo.
SPECIAL FEATURES – 1.5/5
Show & Tell Film School (7:01) – Director Elizabeth Allen gives her experience in filmmaking and what it takes to film a movie like using storyboards to map out certain scenes.
Deleted Scenes (4:11) – There are four scenes included here, none of which are particularly good, as some of the acting is atrocious, and were probably excised for pacing.
Gag Reel (2:54) – This is a standard selection of cast goof-offs and extra takes.
My Ramona with Author Beverly Cleary (4:14) – The featurette has the cast and crew talking about their experience reading the “Ramona” books, some passed down from their own mothers. It’s followed by comments by Cleary herself and where the characters came from.
We also get the Theatrical Trailer (1:41).
VIDEO – 3.5/5
Ramona and Beezus is presented in its original 2.40 aspect ratio and looks on par with most DVD releases. It can be somewhat soft at times but for a standard definition release, it was good enough for my eyes and no doubt will be fine for families.
AUDIO – 3.5/5
The DVD has a standard Dolby Digital 5.1 track that gets the job done, but isn’t anything noteworthy. This is mostly a dialogue driven film but there are some ambient noises that makes some use, though little, out of the rear channels.
OVERALL – 2.5/5
Overall, Ramona and Beezus isn’t such a bad film and especially for one starring a kid, I wasn’t overly annoyed as I often am with child actors. The story and performances are pretty standard for a G-rated comedy/drama and I doubt I’ll even remember it in a couple of hours, but I think some families will enjoy it.
Brian Oliver, The Movieman