the cover

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Studio: Warner Bros.
MSRP: $19.98
Rated: Not Rated
Running Time: 85 Minutes
Special Features:
· “Uncle Sam Wants You to Tapdance” featurette
· “Practice, practice, practice” featurette
· Movie previews

The Pitch

“It’s tapdancing meets war!”

The Humans

Maya Ritter, David Aaron Baker, Tory Green, Sarah Manninen, Genevieve Farrell, Andrew Chalmers, and Molly Ringwald.

The Nutshell

Molly McIntire is a young girl, growing up during World War II. She knows about the war, but she glorifies it, thinking that it must be “swell” to hang out with the big movie stars as they entertain the troops. She realizes that she has to do something about the war when she and her friends try to order ice cream from the local shake joint, only to discover that there is no ice cream left…because of the war, you see.

After world peace was acheived, Uncle Sam had some strange requests.

She decides that she’s going to learn how to tap dance and become the “Miss Victory” for the school that year. Molly thinks that she will be able to help out with the war effort that way, as Miss Victory gets to perform at local functions and dispenses goodwill to all who lay eyes on her. Unfortunately for young Molly, her father decides to help out with the war effort and ships off to work in the hospitals over seas. Molly doesn’t understand why he would want to help out with the war instead of being at home with his family. On top of all this, all the older women in Molly’s life begin getting telegrams that their husbands and sons are dead. And her Mother gets a job at an airplane construction warehouse! And her father is missing in action!

And if things couldn’t get any worse, a young British girl named Emily Bennett is staying at their house. She doesn’t say much, which Molly mistakes for being stuck up, which gives their relationship a rocky start.

Will Molly end up being the best of friends with her shy British roommate? Will her Father ever come back from the war? Will she learn to tap dance and win the Miss Victory contest?


Remember when you used to gather around the Hal 9000 with your family?

The Lowdown

So here’s the thing…this isn’t trying to be anything more then a made for DVD (and I’m assuming TV) film that caters directly to eight-year-old girls and nobody else. I mean nobody else…except for maybe Molly Ringwald completists. Molly and her two friends constantly comment on each other’s clothes, accessories, and the dream weddings they’ve always wanted. They all talk with “swell’s” and “golly’s”. While the British girl is always saying “terribly” or “good show.” The actress who plays Molly puts as much emotional emphasis on being disappointed that there is no ice cream left as she does when her father leaves for war. On the flip side, Tory Green the actress who plays Emily Bennett, has an eerie scene where she talks about the sounds the bombs make during air raids in London. It’s the only emotionally genuine scene of the film.

Molly Ringwald is in the film, trying to make the best out of her current career trajectory. She plays Molly’s mother, and is the one who lets young Molly know that it’s okay for women to work, too. And she even gets to wear a Rosie the Riveter outfit. She also teaches Molly that the best way to help somebody through the grieving process is to bake them a casserole, and spends most of the film looking bewildered.

It covers all the bases: family is good, friends are good, and helping others is good. Ultimately, though, this is harmless filmmaking. Mostly no one acts well enough to be convincingly happy or convincingly sad, preventing the viewer from feeling anything. It’s a flat line from beginning to end, allowing parents to feel safe allowing their 8 year old to watch repeatedly without feeling bad about it.

"You want to see my Agent Smith impression?"

The Package

There’s a featurette called “Uncle Sam Wants You To Tapdance”, which features a young group of dancers interviewing one of the original dancers who entertained the troops. It starts getting a little awkward when she starts going on about how they were young, just having fun, and it was all about keeping the troops as happy as possible….

There’s another featurette called “Practice, practice, practice” that teaches you how to perform some of the killer tap dance moves from the movie. It’s a random girl, showing you dance steps over and over and over again. And over again.

There are a few previews for other ‘American Girl’ movies as well.

5 out of 10