In my pre-children days, I would frequently find myself at the movie theater with my husband, catching the latest budget-busting flick while munching on some popcorn and slurping down a cold beverage. As we sat in that darkened theater (completely oblivious to the fact that in a few short years, and two children later, such an excursion to the movies would be almost seem like a rendezvous to Paris), we would see movie trailers for upcoming kiddie movies that typically involved talking animals, potty humor and thinly veiled attempts to hide major product placement.
I would take a long sip of soda and think, Ha, ha suckers! Glad we don't have any children yet who make us go see such detestable children's movies.
Can we all have a moment of silence for the naive thinking we all possessed in those pre-children years?
Now I do have children and I (sadly) do not frequent the movie theater to catch those blockbuster films as often as I would like. When I see trailers for upcoming kiddie movies, I find myself silently praying that either A. The children happen to be in the other room when said trailers comes on the television or B. The grandparents are simply dying to take the children to the latest kiddie movie, leaving the husband and myself free to watch something of substance and quality.
Then one day I happened to catch the trailer for Ramona and Beezus.
As the voice-over guy spoke about sisterly bonds and nine year old antics, I was immediately taken back to second grade, huddled under the sheets of my bed at night, furiously reading all of the Ramona series by Beverly Cleary. Ramona, by far, was my favorite literary character of my youth. When I was given the chance to preview this upcoming movie and chat with two of its stars, I might have possibly let out a little squeal.
Okay, it was a big squeal. But I digress.
The movie, starring newcomer Joey King as Ramona and Grand Praire-native Selena Gomez as big sister Beezus, hits theaters Friday July 23. Other well-known actors such as Ginnifer Goodwin, Bridget Moynahan, Josh Duhamel, Sandra Oh and John Corbitt ( Yes, Aiden is now playing someone's dad. Sigh.) round out the cast. Ramona and Beezus is a breath of fresh air for those parents wanting to take the entire family to the theater for a movie-watching experience everyone will enjoy. This film follows the antics of one highly-creative nine year old girl, Ramona Quimby, as she attempts to save the day for her family. Inspired by the characters created by author Beverly Cleary in the 1950's, Ramona and Beezus takes a timeless look at sibling interaction, family stress (true to the book, Mr. Q looses his job in the movie), and how a little imagination and a lot of love can carry one far in this world.
Those familiar with Ramona (there are 8 books in the series), will find some very familiar content in the film, from how Ramona makes a kitty cat out of the Q in her last name to her infamous yelling of a bad word (no fear, parents, Ramona's bad word is the quite tame) to the quiet nod to Ramona's beloved red rain boots. For those who might never have poured over the pages of a Beverly Cleary story, Ramona and Beezus will still hold quite a bit of charm. Joey King who portrays Ramona nails the whimsical spirit of this character, providing a smile and large eyes that illuminate the screen during the course of the movie. Selena Gomez, although a bit glamorous to portray someone named Beezus , is able to dispel a convincing amount of big sister advice while maintaining a sense of annoyance by Ramona's behaviors.
My main complaint with the movie is that it is long (104 minutes to be exact). At times, it felt like the writers attempted to incorporate too many details from the books into the movie, thus creating something that bogged viewers down at times. My almost-five year old son accompanied me on this movie watching experience. Although he loved the film, he did begin to grow weary in the last 15 minutes. I believe the overall quality of the movie would have been improved if about 20 minutes of this film had been left on the editing room floor (mainly the love story between Beezus and Henry Hudgins, which just felt a bit wrong on some level).
I greatly enjoyed the movie Ramona and Beezus . I appreciated how it strived to remain true to these characters that were created over 60 years ago by a very talented children's author. I respected its attempts to portray the difficult nature of family relationships in a way that is understandable to both child and adult. I was thankful that the movie told a solid story that is both timeless and applicable to today's family.
And I am forever grateful that the movie was free from talking animals and potty humor.
Ramona and Beezus , rated G, hits theaters Friday July 23rd. Check it out and let us at BurbMom know what you think!