Warner Brothers
99 min

  • “Nancy Drew: Kids at Work”: Emma
    Roberts and Friends Up Close and Personal
  • Gag Reel
  • Joanna “Pretty Much Amazing”
    Music Video
  • Mini-Featurette Gallery: Cool
    Scenes with the Cast and Crew

The Pitch

A teenage detective solves crime with manners.

Yeah, I’m Corky Romano. I’m kind of a big deal around here.

The Humans 

Emma Roberts, Rachael Leigh Cook, Tate Donovan, Max Thieriot,
Laura Harring and Chris Kattan

The Nutshell 

Nancy Drew is a wonderful adaptation of the classic Girl
Power character. Emma Roberts rises above supporting affairs in such films as Aquamarine. This isn’t the kind of film that’s going to turn her into a superstar, but it’s a role that gets a young starlet noticed. If you’re a fan of the classic stories or if you know a young person that likes a good mystery, then this film is for you.

The Lowdown

Emma Roberts is talented, but she can’t save this film. The
way she brings Nancy Drew to life is by taking the old literary figure and
bending her into a modern world. It’s the summer and Nancy
has been sent to live with her dad in Los Angeles.
The house they’re renting is haunted by a long dead movie star and Nancy
wants to solve the mystery of the dead starlet. The problem with that is she
promised her father no more sleuthing.

If Nancy Drew doesn’t unpack her suitcase five times, then the Oak Ridge Boys are going to die.

Nancy Drew thrives on Roberts’ commitment to the role.
Andrew Fleming is a capable director who has fared well in past teen flicks
such as The Craft and Dick. Fleming works well, as he tries to take the
elements of the book that work and translate them onscreen. The result is pure
bubble gum fantasy, but should you expect anything less?  What makes this approach so fascinating is
what comes out of it.

You get an antiquated character that revels in her out of
fashion sensibility. The plaid skirts and knee socks show that she doesn’t care
about trivial fashion. But, her near OCD levels of tidiness and studious
behaviors come across as inspiring to a new generation of girls. Nancy
is confident in every decision she makes and there’s never a moment in the film
where’s she unsure of herself. That’s a refreshing change of pace than having
to sit through another Lohan wankfest.

Nothing says teen friendly like a nightly evening reading of the Necronomicon.

Much has been made of the delay of this DVD
release. It’s bizarre to see a film go nine months before getting a DVD
release after the end of its theatrical exhibition. Don’t take that as a knock
against the quality of the film. Nancy Drew should wear that bit of trivia as
a badge. It’s a hard film to place and not one that’s easy to write it off.

I don’t expect to see a ton of CHUD readers to really get
into the film. But, Nancy Drew knows its audience and the experience will be
found rewarding. Even if the main mystery extends itself so far out that
younger children will find themselves forgetting what the point was in the
first place. Once you get past that, you’ll find yourself entertained for a
viewing or two. That’s why I can only recommend this title for a rental.

The Package

Nancy Drew comes to DVD
with a standard single-disc release. The featurettes are dedicated to making
the cast and crew look like they’re having a fun time. Same goes for the gag
reel that doesn’t offer anything insightful to the occasion. You get the
typical preteen directed music video that offers more bubble gum goodness. If
that doesn’t satisfy you, then why in the hell are you watching this DVD?

If Nancy doesn’t finish her painting by the time her father arrives home, she’ll have to rearrange the toilet paper into the shape of Devil’s Tower.

The A/V Quality on the DVD
is pretty good. The only times that the transfer runs into trouble are during
dark interiors and nighttime scenes. At first, I mistook this for film grain.
But, as the pixilation grew, I came to see the faults in the transfer.
Everything during the daytime is near reference quality which made the darker
scenes stand out so prominently.

The Dolby 5.1 track is clean and clear. So, there’s that
going in favor of the DVD. I wouldn’t
recommend the DVD as anything outside of a
casual Sunday afternoon viewing. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t give it a
chance. I just wouldn’t go out of my way to partake in the world of Nancy

Nancy learns that you can hide a spotty DVD transfer.

7.3 out of 10