tek's rating: ¾

Ramona and Beezus (G)
20th Century Studios; IMDb; Rotten Tomatoes; TV Tropes; Walden Media; Wikia; Wikipedia
streaming sites: Amazon; Google Play; Hulu; iTunes; Movies Anywhere; Vudu; YouTube

This came out in 2010, but I didn't see it until 2022. It's based on a series of books by Beverly Cleary, of which I'm fairly sure I've never read any. In fact I'm given to understand it's specifically based on at least two or three of the books, and takes place over a much shorter time span than in the books, so it makes sense if the story feels a bit jumbled. I'm not sure how fans of the books would feel about it (I'm sure not all fans would feel the same way, though). But I found it rather enjoyable. You might expect, given the title, that it would be in roughly equal parts about Ramona (Joey King) and her older sister Beezus (Selena Gomez), and their relationship (which has its ups and downs). But in fact, it's pretty much all about Ramona, and Beezus is just one of the other characters.

Ramona Quimby is nine years old, and has a very active imagination. (We occasionally see what she's imagining, which is neat, but it's not a major part of the movie.) She has a best friend named Howie, though he's not terribly important to the story. She has a teenage sister named Beatrice, who goes by the nickname "Beezus", which Ramona provided to her when she was too young to say Beatrice's real name. (And Beezus isn't very happy about this nickname, though that only comes up once in the movie.) Ramona is also very close to her father, Robert (John Corbett), who seems like just about the nicest dad in the world. A large part of what passes for a plot is that Robert loses his job, and has to look for a new one. And Ramona is worried that they might lose their house, so spends a bit of time trying to make money to help out. Of a bit less importance to the story is Ramona and Beezus's mother, Dorothy (Bridget Moynahan), though she's nice enough, too. I suppose I should also mention that the Quimby girls have a baby sister named Roberta, who isn't very important to the story. We also see a fair bit Ramona's third grade teacher, Mrs. Meacham (Sandra Oh). Another really important character is Dorothy's sister, also named Beatrice (Ginnifer Goodwin), whom the girls call Aunt Bea. She's pretty close to Ramona, and they bond over both of them being younger sisters. There's a major subplot about Bea reconnecting with her former boyfriend, Hobart (Josh Duhamel), though she tries to avoid him at first. And a relatively minor subplot about Beezus developing romantic feelings for her childhood friend, Henry (Hutch Dano, whom I knew from Zeke and Luther).

I think those are all the important characters. It's hard for me to think what else to say about the movie, except that it seems like a lot of bad things happen to Ramona, sometimes her fault and sometimes not. But while she's upset a lot of the time, I'd say she's fairly cheerful more of the time, and generally seems like an optimist. I don't really want to spoil any more details of the plot, but like I said, it's a bit jumbled. Still, I liked the characters and found the movie fun, even if I'm not sure how memorable I'll find it. And it has some decent songs, including one over the end credits by Gomez.


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