Nancy Drew (2007)
The best Hollywood film of the summer? Not that there's a truckload of competition, but the intrepid Nancy Drew takes that dubious prize early on in the race. A bright concoction from writer/director Andrew Fleming (The Craft (1996), Dick (1999)), it flings our perky sleuth into the 21st century, but with her 50s accouterments intact. Beginning with a credits sequence made up of the woodcut-like drawings that appeared in the original novels, the film captures the spirit, if not the entire body, of the books. Because while there is plenty of postmodern upgrading (she now carries an I-Pod in her sleuthing kit), it maintains a respect and almost obsessive love for the sincerity of her personality and style. When insulted at school for her home-baked desserts and too-prim dresses, she just says "I like old-fashioned things", and it's entirely believable (and cute: also, "downloading is OK, but nothing sounds like vinyl." She then pumps some Les Baxter!)
Emma Roberts (Julia's niece), nabbing the role through nepotism, plays Nancy with a steely dorkiness, her perky attention to detail is never flustered as events spin out of control around her - various murder attempts only elicit, "I hate when that happens." She's slapped with an amusing overweight sidekick named Corky, who falls pudgily in love with her, but then, so does everyone who comes in contact with her. There's a mystery about a dead movie star - which leads to a great cameo on a film set - and it's all done with wit and aplomb. The identity of the murderer is no great surprise, but who wants to be surprised by Nancy? It's enough that we can spend 100 minutes with a such a nice young girl (it's also well paced and edited, with quality performances all around). And if you don't believe me, at least I have Rosenbuam in my corner. Plus the enigmatic (and delightful) Spinster Aunt has her own appreciation of old Nance.