DVD Review: Nancy Drew
Release Date: March 11, 2008
Distributor: Warner Home Video
· Andrew Fleming
· Emma Roberts
· Josh Flitter
· Tate Donovan
· Rachel Leigh Cook
· Barry Bostwick
· IMDb: Nancy Drew
by R.J. Carter
Published: March 18, 2008
Emma Roberts charms and delights in this modern take on Carolyn Keene's literary sleuther, Nancy Drew. In this Andrew Fleming flick, Nancy and her River Heights friends all live in a bit of a 1950s time warp environment, where even the criminals trend toward politeness.
But when Nancy's dad, Carson (Tate Donovan), takes an assignment in California, Nancy -- the teenage equivalent of Mary Poppins (practically perfect in every way) -- is thrust into the post-modern world of piercings, tattoos, drunken parties, and other hazards of teenaged living. She excels at everything mental and physical at her new high school, which makes her an outcast among her peers. But that doesn't daunt our ever-optimistic Nancy -- because she has a new mystery to solve (much against her father's wishes, as usual).
The house that the Drew's have rented for their time in Hollywood was owned by a former movie star, Dehlia Draycott -- who once disappeared for several months, only to return for a brief period with no explanation before being found mysteriously murdered in her bedroom. The mystery has Nancy hooked, and she's determined to figure out what happened. But the closer she comes to the truth, the more dangerous her life becomes as she's nearly run down, blown up, and shot at.
The only flaw with this film is a flub in the supposed knowledge of the character. Nancy is a veritable cornucopia of trivia, even interrupting a movie shoot (and impressing an uncredited Bruce Willis) when a 1950s cop starts reading Miranda Rights -- more than ten years before they became law. But when two of her mean girl classmates learn that she knows CPR, they set her up by having 12-year-old Corky (Josh Flitter) pretend to choke at a basketball game, so that he could plant a liplock on an unsuspecting Nancy. The problem: Nancy actually starts to administer CPR to the faux-choking boy, instead of giving the Heimlich. (Note: Never administer CPR to anybody as long as they're exhibiting signs of life. Then five rounds of two breaths and thirty compressions before checking the victim again.) However, Nancy makes up for this gaffe later on in the film with a comic/dramatic rescue of a girl suffering from a peanut allergy, grossing out her classmates by administering an emergency tracheotomy.
Hollywood Mystery. Nancy and Corky contemplate the clues.
(L-R: Roberts, Flitter)
I enjoyed this film from the very beginning, with the "right out of the book" look of the artwork of the opening credits. Overall, "Nancy Drew" has the kid-appeal of a Nick flick, but without the silliness so that adults can enjoy it as well. It's tailor-made to be the start of a franchise, so long as the "pretty much amazing" Emma Roberts can reprise the role.
This single-disc, single-sided version of the film includes both the full screen and widescreen release -- with room for a handful of bonus featurettes. "Nancy Drew: Kids at Work" is a nine minute segment of cast and crew interviews, including a set tour. There's a two-minute gag reel which is skippable, and a music video ("Pretty Much Amazing" by Joanna). Then there's a ten-minute set of mini-featurettes, where the cast tells us the contents of their iPods, Roberts reveals the utility-belt-like contents of Nancy Drew's Detective Kit, a behind-the-scenes look at a scene, an explanation of continuity photographs, and some on-set home video of Robert's last day on the set.
Audio is available in English, French and Spanish 5.1, with optional subtitles in English, French and Spanish.
Previews on this disc include "A Dennis the Menace Christmas," "Get Smart," "Hairspray," and Nancy Drew: Music From the Motion Picture.