What did Hollywood do to Nancy Drew?

June 18, 2007, midnight | By Susie Branson | 14 years, 5 months ago

"Nancy Drew" is a disastrous mystery even Nancy can't solve

What did Hollywood do to society's beloved Nancy Drew? The true mystery in this dreary modern adaptation of the classic detective novels is actually how Nancy found herself in such a lifeless plotline.

Nancy Drew first met the world in the 1930s, where her popular book series lined the bookshelves of adolescent girls, and has retained her status as the quintessential role model for young ladies through the century. It's not surprising that Hollywood finally discovered Nancy, but disappointing that they have forced her into the worst mystery-story of her career.

Nancy Drew (Emma Roberts) is the River Heights community hero, famous for solving mysteries and catching criminals faster than any police force. But when her dad, Carson (Tate Donovan), announces their relocation to California for his new job, Nancy obediently leaves her friends, reputation and boyfriend for their new home. As a condolence for their sudden move, Nancy's father lets her choose their new house. Although he has urged her to refrain from spying, or "sleuthing," Nancy chooses the supposedly haunted house of Dehlia Draycott, a famous movie star from the 1970s whose unsolved death is one of the largest mysteries of all time.

First clue of what went wrong: the casting. If Hollywood is going to make a movie out of a book series, they should at least know who the character is before they start shooting. Although Emma Roberts looked the part fashion-wise, Nancy Drew fanatics know that Nancy has a short, blonde bob in all of her books – not the shoulder-length brunette hairdo sported by Roberts in the film.

Physical flaws aside, Roberts also fails to instill Nancy with anything resembling charm or charisma. Although this was Roberts's biggest movie since her breakout role in Nickelodeon's hit show, "Unfabulous," she's going to need to do a lot better than what she did for Nancy if she wants to stay on the big screen. Even Donovan, an established actor from the hit television show, "The OC," had a lackluster performance that just couldn't pull off the single-parent role.

Clue Two: While the movie was full of talented musicians with slow, soulful lyrics like Corrine Bailey Rae's "Just like a star," the beat didn't quite fit a mystery movie for pre-teen girls, where more upbeat, pop-like tunes would have been much more appropriate.

Clue Three: The basic premise of the movie. Hollywood forced poor Nancy and her penny loafers into LA, and tried the whole new-girl-trying-to-find-her-way-in-a-big-city-with-no-friends gimmick. Nancy was designed to be in a small town, not have her clothes critiqued by self-absorbed teenage girls.

Clue Four: Although the lighting and shots were decent, the cheesy special effects made the movie look like a Disney-channel original.

Clue Five: Or rather, the lack of a clue. There is no hint of development in the characters, the mystery is paper-thin and the plot is extremely juvenile and unentertaining after the first twenty minutes.

With all of these clues, it's no wonder why Nancy Drew should stay in her book series! Hollywood shows it has no idea how to handle a classic, as screenwriters Andrew Fleming and Tiffany Paulsen tried desperately yet unsuccessfully to pump laughs into the script. For anyone who is not a 6-10 year old girl, Nancy Drew is a dull and predictable experience. At least the preteen girls will enjoy Nancy's cute boyfriend Ned (Max Thieriot), her cute 1950s vintage-inspired wardrobe and the intense yet non-violent fight scene where Nancy battles a deadly criminal.

With all the clues pointing in the same direction, the LAPD should be here shortly to arrest Hollywood for the serious crime of attempting to ruin a classic.

Nancy Drew (98 minutes) is rated PG for mild violence, thematic elements and brief language. Now playing everywhere.

Susie Branson. Key facts of Susie Branson: she's a junior in CAP, her favorite food is peanut butter, she plays soccer and lacrosse, she can't stand talking on the phone, loves country music, and her favorite ice cream is Phish Food. She is way too competitive for … More »

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