The summer movie season has not had much that enticed me to part with my money until very recently. Among those that piqued my interest enough to justify the outlay of cash was Ramona and Beezus. As a long time Ramona Quimby fan, I went into this with a critical eye, ready to cry foul if Hollywood trampled all over another part of my childhood.
I was pleasantly surprised.
No, it doesn’t completely follow any one of the several books in which Ramona and her sister Beezus appear, but it manages to draw high points from each. Including the puking scene from Ramona Quimby, Age 8 (which I have a fondness for because my mother gave me the book when I’d been sent home sick myself). Though, sadly, most of the scenes from Beezus and Ramona are actually absent.
I will warn those of you my age who might not be aware: there is an additional Ramona book, published in 1999-2000. Yeah, I had NO CLUE either, and material from that book (Ramona’s World) appears in this movie. Upon finding out about this after seeing the film, it legitimized a moment or two that had seemed so entirely unfamiliar to me at the time. Even going in without the knowledge of Ramona’s World, nothing seemed so totally out of character that I was offended. And, thankfully, even though the previews and hype focused so much on Selena Gomez as Beezus, the movie really did focus on Ramona, and Joey King did a fantastic job.
At the heart of it, it’s a kids movie. Very family friendly. If that’s not your thing, then don’t bother. It happens to be my thing, so I was delighted. I laughed, I cried (yes, there’s a very sad moment in the movie), and I had large amounts of warm and fuzzie and total feel-good moments. I particularly loved the relationship with Ramona and her Father. Very well done.
And, of course, there’s Ramona herself. All her mistakes, her whacky logic and her unrestrained ways are included here. The visual insight into her imagination is also well done. She makes this movie just as much as she made the books in which we first met her.
Other things to love include Sandra Oh, who’s pretty awesome in every party she plays. Oh, and the fellow that plays Hobart does a great job AND he’s a total hottie. Yes, I just used the word hottie.
If you grew up with Ramona and have not shrugged your childhood off completely, you’ll enjoy this rendition of Ramona. I’m not saying it’s going to change your life, but at the very least, you can be assured that you won’t walk away feeling like a part of your childhood had been vandalized. You may even find it’s been enhanced.