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Parents' Guide to

Dear Lemon Lima

By S. Jhoanna Robledo, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 14+

Quirky coming-of-age dramedy is sweet but strained.

Movie PG-13 2011 87 minutes
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Kids say (2 ):

Halfway through DEAR LEMON LIMA, things start looking up. The inertia that afflicts the first half dissipates, giving way to a sense of empowerment as the lead character, Vanessa, starts to realize the boy she likes isn't worth the trouble, and that she, in fact, is happy to assert herself. In turn, she influences others to break out of their boxes, too. Then, the studied, stylized quirkiness that's omnipresent -- that overwhelms the film, in fact -- doesn't seem so bad; the film's color-saturated look-and-feel and tinkly-music-box soundtrack start to charm. And its message of tolerance and equality, compassion and kindness begins to work its magic.

That's the upside. But here's the hitch: Dear Lemon Lima simply tries too hard, and its forced eccentricity strains its potential likeability and power. The characters border on caricature, which is a shame. Sometimes, it's best to tell a beautiful story simply, with few adornments.

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