A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that the big-screen Nancy Drew is very retro and straightlaced. And although she's being marketed to older tweens and young teens, even slightly younger kids will enjoy the teenage sleuth's harmless action. There are a few "good scary" moments (a face pops up in a dark room), and even though Nancy is forced to flee from armed henchmen and is even held at gunpoint, she never really seems like she'd be the victim of anything. It's worth noting that there are several prominent product placements, mostly computer and Internet related.
What's the story?
Nancy and her dad, Carson (Tate Donovan), leave their Midwestern hometown of River Heights for Los Angeles, where they stay in a mysterious mansion in which a beautiful Hollywood star named Dehlia Draycott (Laura Elena Harring) wound up dead. Nancy has promised her dad that, instead of sleuthing, she'll try to be "normal" -- if that's possible in 2007 for an 18-year-old who wears penny loafers and twin-sets to a Hollywood high school. But eventually she can't help herself, and she starts digging away at the circumstances surrounding Dehlia's death. With the aid of an obnoxious, adoring 12-year-old freshman named Corky (Josh Flitter), her low-tech detective kit, her signature blue roadster, and her cute-but-completely-uncharismatic (boy)friend Ned (Max Thieriot), Nancy has everything a girl needs to solve a 25-year-old mystery.
Is it any good?
Updated by director Andrew Fleming in the form of perky Emma Roberts, the likable Nancy Drew is equal parts goody-two-shoes and intuitive investigator. As the throwback "sleuth" (an anachronistic word in and of itself), Roberts is an excellent role model for obedience and good citizenship, but there's a certain oomph missing in this modernized take on the teen detective.
But the bigger puzzle is how Roberts -- who stars in her own Nickelodeon show, Unfabulous, and is Julia's niece -- doesn't make Nancy as vibrant and endearing as she was on the page. Sure, she's sweet, and she proves that girls don't need guys to save them from peril, but her adolescent Sherlock Holmes isn't engaging enough to merit another movie mystery.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about what makes Nancy a good role model for tween and teen girls. How does she compare to other movie characters -- or real-life "role models" like Lindsay Lohan and Paris Hilton?
Why did the other girls in the movie make fun of Nancy, and what made them change their mind?
- In theaters: June 14, 2007
- On DVD or streaming: March 10, 2008
- Cast: Emma Roberts, Max Thieriot, Tate Donovan
- Director: Andrew Fleming
- Studio: Warner Bros.
- Genre: Family and Kids
- Topics: Book Characters, Friendship, High School
- Run time: 99 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG
- MPAA explanation: mild violence, thematic elements and brief language.
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.