Emma Roberts, Rachael Leigh Cook, Tate Donovan
Directed by Andrew Fleming
Originally released 2007
Widescreen and fullscreen versions
Warner Home Video 2008
This review contains a link to a Nancy Drew contest. Nancy Drew is a made for tween girls and family DVD. It combines Carolyn Keene's famous girl detective solving a mystery with a self-confident fish out of water story. Yes, it is formulaic if you are an older viewer who has seen the formulas before, but your daughter hasn't and the movie works so who cares?
Teen detective Nancy Drew (Emma Roberts, Julia's niece and obviously so) moves from the quaint probably New England town she grew up in to Hollywood. There she meets your typical spoiled, rich, and catty high school teen girls and a mystery. Though she promised him she would no longer get in trouble with her detecting, her father makes the mistake of renting a house where a murder took place many years ago. The murder is still unsolved and the house has a few surprises, not all of them man made, of its own. The girl sleuth does everything she can to keep her promise to her dad but the fates insist she figure out what happened to Dehlia Draycott, movie star.
This big screen offering has a definite made for TV feel to it and is perhaps a bit slower paced in the beginning than what I suspect today's generation is used to or expects. The fish out of water part of the movie (or as one of the Hollywood students text messages: OMG I'm sitting next to Martha Stewart) is interesting but a bit heavy handed. Also, even the world's most famous teen investigator is not that much of a keener.
Real Carolyn Keene fans will notice that when Nancy searches the internet for information on Draycott the movie titles are Nancy Drew books. Look for Bruce Willis playing an actor named Bruce. Note Nancy is wrong on Miranda, it's 1966 not 1966.
The lesson to be learned is in Nancy remaining true to who she is and not being afraid of being smart, resourceful, and thinking of others first.
This is a better than most family movie and quite a decent mystery if you take out the secondary stories. Her confrontation with the bad guy where there's a fight explains the PG rating.