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A chunk of childhood

“Hello, Innocent and Unfettered Child Named Meredith.”

That’s what I said to myself today when, whilst surfing about the Web, I discovered that “Ramona and Beezus” releases in March 2010. The discovery took me back to a simpler time, when the wild-n-crazy antics of Ramona Quimby, not my untended and mangy credit score, occupied all my thoughts. These two characters, created by Beverly Cleary, were such a part of my youth that I once tried to order a hamburger with peanut butter (classic Ramona) and I got in a whole heap of trouble for squeezing an entire tube of toothpaste into the sink (what will that devilish little imp think of next?). Yes, the Quimby sisters were a fixture in my childhood, so I’m excited at the chance to rip the duct tape of my inner child’s mouth and shove her out of the linen closet. She’s bound to be hot in there, under all those pillow cases too ugly to put out but too good to throw away.

But the cast is … spotty. Bridget Moynahan as Mrs. Quimby? I ask: WTF? Wrong. John Corbett as dad I can support. Ginnifer Goodwin as Aunt Bea sounds reasonable because she’s a very fine actress, indeed. Joey King looks about right as Ramona, but Selena Gomez as Beezus? It’s enough to make me wonder: Did the casting director call in sick that day? How, exactly, is Selena Gomez going to pass as the sister of a tiny blond girl? And why — why why why why why — would Josh Duhamel from “Las Vegas” show up here? Urgh. Would it have killed anyone to try for William H. Macy? Come on, folks — this is a cast that’s screaming for at least one Hollywood heavyweight.