Nancy Drew: Emma Roberts

Melinda Sue Gordon/Warner Bros. Entertainment

Review in a Hurry:  Plucky, anachronistic teen detective investigates a Hollywood mystery—though "mystery" is an awfully strong word for the lojinks here. High marks for the effort put forth shoehorning the prim Drew into the modern-day world, but that effort might have been better spent on story.

The Bigger Picture:  Nancy Drew is less an adaptation than a transplant operation, as the popular children's adventure star turns out to be less timeless than you'd think. Teen sleuth Drew (Emma Roberts) is portrayed here as more Miss Manners than Miss Marple, an charmingly retro busybody with insatiable curiosity and some burgeoning obsessive-compulsive disorders.

Roberts' performance is the best thing about the movie, and she carries it well enough, but there's just not enough for anyone to do in Nancy Drew to make it compelling. What it is instead is more than a little weird, a tweener-appropriate adventure-comedy that offers nothing in the way of adventure and only intermittent laughs.

Moving Drew from her picayune home to Los Angeles lays the groundwork for a decent fish-out-of-water scenario, except that it's obvious from the get-go that she's a strange fish no matter where she is; as such, she might as well have stayed in the books.

The 180—a Second Opinion:  The performances are entertaining, with Roberts committing wonderfully. If you can get past the fact that Veronica Mars would have wrapped this mystery up before the first commercial break, you won't hate yourself for watching it.

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