Nancy Drew

Big-screen teen sleuth is cute, if a bit bland.
  • Review Date: March 9, 2008
  • Rated: PG
  • Genre: Family and Kids
  • Release Year: 2007
  • Running Time: 99 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Shows that persistance, ingenuity, and smarts pay off. Plus a message about being yourself.

Positive role models

Nancy is a great role model for girls: She's fearless, smart, and conscientious. She's also a really good kid -- except when it comes to her father's request that she stop sleuthing.

Violence & scariness

Nancy is nearly killed a few times -- first in a car chase and later at gunpoint by a bad guy and his henchmen. Men are hit over the head with a shovel.

Sexy stuff

One brief kiss; two girls wear tight outfits and flirt with Ned; Corky hits on Nancy.


Fairly mild language/insults: "what the hell," "freak," "idiot," "oh God," "porky," etc.


Several prominent product placements: Mac laptop,, AOL, Amtrak, InStyle magazine, Hollywood High, etc.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

There's a rowdy high-school party, but no one seems to be drinking -- just dancing and carrying on.

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, 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.

Families can talk 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?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:June 14, 2007
DVD release date: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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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Adult Written byLoriL April 9, 2008
age 0+

Very disappointing

I saw this movie in the theater with my 10-year-old daughter. We were very much looking forward to this movie since my daughter reads Nancy Drew books and plays the Nancy Drew cd-rom games. This movie was nothing like the Nancy Drew mysteries of the books and games. It dealt with an out-of-wedlock actress who went into hiding during her pregnancy, gave the baby up, then came back. Nancy searched for the now grown woman, also a single mother. My daughter was left asking where the child's father was, how this woman got pregnant in the first place, etc., etc. Had the writers never read a Nancy Drew book before? The books were titled "The Secret of the Old Clock", "The Whispering Statue", "The Haunted Bridge", etc., not "The Mystery of the Unwanted Pregnancy". I must say I'm a bit disappointed with Common Sense Media for not picking up on this story-line also.
Kid, 11 years old August 22, 2010
age 7+

Exciting movie for brave pre-tweens up!

I thought it was great but some younger kids may be frightened, or, if they're braver, cheer Nancy on!
What other families should know
Too much violence
Great messages
Great role models
Kid, 11 years old March 27, 2010
age 8+

An Awesome Fun Movie you Can't Miss

I absolutely LOVE this movie! I watch it all the time! In this movie Nancy and her father move to California into a house that Nancy chose, of course with a mystery. Her father makes her promise not to sleuth after she solves a dangerous mystery in the beginning. She does of course though and she gets wrapped up in a huge mystery about a flim stars mysterious death. I love every mintue of it, but it might be scary for younger kids. There are a couple -pop-out-atcha moments and Nancy is almost killed a couple times. But it's an awesome movie as i've said a ton and there are funny parts as well. I highly recommend this movie!!!
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much swearing
Great messages
Great role models


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