Ramona and Beezus (2 stars)

Ramona and Beezus

(U) 104min

Adapted from Beverly Cleary’s popular children’s books, Ramona Quimby is a highly imaginative nine-year-old girl with a penchant for getting into mischief.

In Elizabeth Allen’s feature, Ramona (Joey King) has to deal with that most current of family problems, redundancy, as her father (John Corbett) loses his job in Portland, Oregon. Under the despairing eye of her sister Beezus (Selena Gomez), Ramona sets about helping her family through the financial crisis, leading to the kind of slapstick complications that used to befall Paddington Bear.

As with her previous feature, Aquamarine, Allen displays a gift for creating elaborate fantasy sequences, and she brings Ramona’s daydreams to vivid, colourful life. The central performers are charming, ably supported by an overqualified adult cast including Bridget Moynahan, Josh Duhamel and Sandra Oh. But the depiction of the minutia of Ramona’s family’s life seems too insubstantial for a big-screen venture, and with Ramona and Beezus clocking in at a soul-destroying 104 minutes, it’ll tax the patience of all but the book’s most devoted followers.

General release, from Fri 22 Oct.

Ramona & Beezus

  • 2 stars
  • 2010
  • US
  • 1h 43min
  • U
  • Directed by: Elizabeth Allen
  • Written by: Laurie Craig, Nick Pustay
  • Cast: Joey L King, Selena Gomez, Hutch Dano, Ginnifer Goodwin, John Corbett, Bridget Moynahan, Josh Duhamel, Sandra Oh

Overlong and insubstantial tale of sisterly mischief adapted from the best-selling children's books by Beverly Cleary, starring newcomer King as girl-scamp Ramona Quimby, who puts her chaos-causing talents to good use when her family's home comes under threat of repossession.