Film Reviews

GO AQUAMARINE Undemanding, unsurprising and really quite charming within conventional limits, Elizabeth Allen’s tween-coming-of-age feature debut is as realist as can be, given that, of the three nice Florida girls who need to grow up in the movie, the eponymous heroine (Sara Paxton) is a high-achieving blond mermaid with vaguely feminist leanings, a twitchy blue tail and the comic timing of an up-and-coming Cameron Diaz. Aquamarine has three days as a landlubber to prove to her father, king of the ocean, that love really exists, or else submit to an underwater arranged marriage. To this end she enlists Claire and Hailey (played by Emma Roberts and Joanna Levesque, two very pretty girls trying their best to look nerdy and dowdy) — both of whom have maturation issues of their own — to arouse the libido of the local surfer dude (Jake McDorman), also blond, also nice. Arielle Kebbel acquits herself with verve and aplomb in the fun role of the bad seed (bottle-blond, fancy threads, not nice at all) who wants surfer dude to herself. Remarkably (given that neither is blond), Claire and Hailey are up to the task, and, thus empowered, all three girls discover that romance may come and go, but the love of friends is forever. That’s probably about right these days, and though I suspect that Alice Hoffman’s novel, on which this capable movie is based, tells the story with a less earnest pedagogic agenda, you could do a lot worse than take your pubescent girls to Aquamarine. For one thing, Hilary Duff’s not in it. (Citywide) (Ella Taylor)

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