Film Reviews

Ramona and Beezus Is Less Disney Than Hallmark Channel

Despite the presence of Mouse House starlet Selena Gomez, Ramona and Beezus is less Disney than Hallmark Channel, a loose adaptation of Beverly Cleary's first novel in her beloved kid-lit series that's wholesome to the point of dull. Without much in the way of a governing narrative structure, Elizabeth Allen's innocuous film charts Ramona Quim­by (Joey King) as she suffers a series of embarrassments in front of family, friends, and classmates. King captures Ramona's spunky, oddball spirit, but her imaginative antics, often embellished with ill-fitting fantasy CGI, frequently take a back seat to the inconsequential romantic predicaments of big sis Beezus (Gomez) and Aunt Bea (Ginnifer Goodwin). Ramona's story admirably attempts to address issues of adult abandonment, social alienation, and economic instability, the last of these via a timely subplot about Ramona's dad (John Corbett) being downsized. Yet even more than the overriding milquetoast atmosphere, it's this focus on real-world fears that destabilizes Allen's film.

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Nick Schager is a regular film contributor at Voice Media Group and its film partner, the Village Voice. VMG publications include LA Weekly, Denver Westword, Phoenix New Times, Miami New Times, Broward-Palm Beach New Times, Houston Press and Dallas Observer.