“Ramona and Beezus” is a sweet and simple kind of film. Based upon the Ramona series of children’s novels by Beverly Cleary, Joey King plays the title character Ramona Quimby. She has lots of energy but her antics often get her into trouble, especially at school or even at home with her older sister Beezus (Wizard’s of Waverly Place star Selena Gomez). Ramona is innocent enough and means well even if it does not always seem that way.
Ramona starts to get her act together soon after she finds out that her dad Robert Quimby (John Corbett) has gotten laid off of work and is in jeopardy of losing their home. She uses her wits and imagination to come up with ideas, including selling lemonade until that backfires when Beezus’ crush Henry arrives. This leads to Beezus embarrassing herself by spewing lemonade all over him on accident after tasting a fly in her drink. She immediately blames Ramona for the incident. After getting told to grow up and stop acting so childish by her parents Ramona feels abandoned and decides to run away. She arrives at the bus station only to find a book inside her suitcase which had doodle sketches drawn for her by her dad. Eventually, her family finds her and she realizes that family is first. They are there for her no matter what.
That is one of many lessons and morals the film conveys. Following a big argument between Ramona and her sister, Ramona goes to feed her cat Picky-picky and realizes that he is dead. This brings the sisters together to bury their feline friend as Ramona gives a sweet eulogy in behalf of his memory. Beezus then comforts her sister and informs her that she is unique and to just be true to herself because she is special. “Ramona and Beezus” does not have a mean bone in its body. Director Elizabeth Allen does a fine job of flowing together the scenes so smoothly. I enjoyed the fantasy aspect of the film, especially the scenes where we see in the mind of Ramona such as when she is flying like a superhero or when she imagines her house being taken away from her and her family.
All the acting is done very well. Young Joey King is charming and fantastic in the role of Ramona. She has great timing and emotion, reminding me of a young Dakota Fanning in her acting abilities. Disney teen sensation Gomez is very good in her role as well. The two girls compliment each other in their scenes together. Ramona’s Aunt Bea (Ginnifer Goodwin) and Hobart (Josh Duhamel) play long lost high school lovers reconnected after many years later. The two are very entertaining in their supporting roles and look to be having a blast on screen.
I feel “Ramona and Beezus” accomplishes more as a film than what “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” tried to do earlier this year. “Wimpy Kid” left me feeling kind of cold with its story of the lead boy trying to be popular at any cost, whereas Ramona is all about helping her family. The film is more family friendly and is great entertainment for children and young teenagers especially. Based on the popular series, I am sure a lot of little girls look up and admire the titled character. A little Ramona goes a long way.