‘Get a clue!’ trills the ad for this hasty update of the venerable teenage gumshoe franchise. Sadly, the Nancy Drew of 2007 feels more like a clueless retread than an inspired reboot.
Filmed under the working title Nancy Drew: The Mystery of the Hollywood Hills, director Andrew Fleming (The In-Laws, The Craft) unwisely attempts to ramp up the charm of Carolyn Keene’s old-fashioned gal by throwing her into glitzy modern-day LA situations. So, while her father (Tate Donovan) is always complaining about Nancy (Emma Roberts, niece of Julia) and her constant ‘sleuthing’, this un-cerebral detective relies less on deductions than bomb disposal and defensive driving skills that wouldn’t disgrace an SAS captain.
Such unclear delineation of Drew’s character make for an uneven set of adventures. One minute she’s abseiling her way out of a hostage situation, the next earnestly sympathising with single mother Jane (Rachel Leigh Cook, the Grande Dame in this youthful company). Despite the perks of a polished studio production (breezy soundtrack, airy locations, cheesy Bruce Willis cameo) Nancy Drew feels like an unformed, hollow and remarkably vacuous cousin of those 1930s films starring Bonita Granville, which were passable at best anyway. All of which does not bode well for Hardy Men, the proposed Ben Stiller/Tom Cruise update of the Hardy Boys.
General release from Fri 19 Oct.