Perhaps, penny loafer-wearing detective Nancy Drew should concentrate on solving the mystery of why this latest adaptation of a near-classic piece of children?s literature was turned into a second-rate fish-out-of-water comedy. Rather than concentrating on making this movie a cunning period whodunit, the producers and screenwriter made a Brady Bunch-style decade clash (Drew?s dress and air remains primarily ?50s while the rest of the world has, well, progressed) the fulcrum of the story. This proves to be another example of Hollywood feeling it necessary to hinge the action off of a silly gimmick rather than rely on intelligent storytelling.
In this PG-rated modern update of Nancy Drew, the clever teen sleuth (Roberts) leaves River Heights for Los Angeles and gets a leg up on a decades old unsolved case involving a murdered Hollywood starlet.
Infuriatingly likeable, Roberts does a laudable job of carrying this dreadful material. No explanation is given, however, for why the sleuth she plays and her attorney father (Donovon)-both purportedly sharp cookies--obliviously continue to live in the past while time has obviously marched on. This hook simply does not work and, worse yet, was not necessary. Between Robert?s likeability and the overwhelming potential for a winsome children?s detective franchise to easily win over an audience, Nancy Drew truly missed the boat. A ?50s-set detective tale involving a 16 year-old girl proved to be a winning formula for decades. Why this simple but proven blueprint would not work in 2007, given the right whodunit and some skilled hands, truly remains a mystery.
Bottom line: More fish-out-of-water comedy than whip-smart mystery.