The movie has been a long time coming.
Beverly Cleary’s popular book was written in 1955 and the names were flip-flopped. Beezus got top billing. The novel is just one of a series books about a family and other characters inhabiting a Portland, Ore., neighborhood.
While set in modern day, the film is a definite throwback to more innocent times and has a 1950s TV series flavor. It will remind you of Leave it to Beaver — which, by the way, is based on another Cleary novel.
Ramona and Beezus covers a lot of territory and is a series of short stories centered around the classic middle child, Ramona. She’s trouble in a pint-size package. Good intentions go bad, every action produces a disastrous reaction. The film explores Ramona’s relationship with her big sister, Beezus, their mom and dad in conflict, school and a love-struck aunt.
The cast is superb and has an absolute blast with this material. Joey King plays Ramona and is a talented young actress with oodles of charm and tremendous potential. Sister Beezus is done by the equally skilled Selena Gomez. The very natural, easy to like and exceptionally gifted John Corbett of My Big Fat Greek Wedding fame is her dad and Bridget Moynahan does mom.
Many of today’s moms and daughters grew up having Ramona’s adventures read to them by their moms and grandmothers and loved them. No doubt they will see Ramona and Beezus. Not many guys read the books.
While most of you are a long way from being a little girl, the film will take you by surprise. Do see it if you get the chance. You’ll start with smiles that evolve into muffled giggles. From there, it’s loud guffaws.
Ramona and Beezus is the summer’s sweetest surprise.
Mr. Movie rating: 4 1/2 stars
Rated G. It opens Friday, July 23 at Regal’s Columbia Center 8 and at the Fairchild Cinemas 12.
5 stars to 4 1/2 stars: Must see on the big screen
4 stars to 3 1/2 stars: Good film, see it if it's your type of movie.
3 stars to 2 1/2 stars: Wait until it comes out on video.
2 stars to 1 star: Don't bother.
0 stars: Speaks for itself.