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Preview Review: The Quimbys are back in 'Ramona and Beezus'

March 19, 2010 | 12:04 pm

Selena-gomez-in-ramona-and-beezus Remember Ramona Quimby? That quirky adolescent with a red-haired bob whose curiosity always seemed to land her in hot water? Most of us became familiar with Ramona via the bestselling book series by author Beverly Cleary, which was later turned into a popular PBS television series.

This summer, Fox is taking a fresh, more modern take on Ramona with "Ramona and Beezus," out in July. The newly released trailer shows a film that's reminiscent of such kid classics as "Harriet the Spy," the 1996 film about a spunky young detective that gave Michelle Trachtenberg her start.

Ramona, a quirky elementary school student played by newcomer Joey King, is constantly finding herself in trouble as a result of her high jinks. With her puppy-dog eyes, King looks adorable in the role, though she doesn't seem to fully inhabit the precociousness that Sarah Polley practically trademarked in the TV series. The movie certainly seems to stray from Cleary's books, in which Ramona was far more plotting pest than sympathetic outcast.

Disney Channel star Selena Gomez plays Beezus, Ramona's protective older sister who looks out for her and gives her advice. Unlike some of her other Mouseketeer counterparts, Gomez looks surprisingly competent in the role, and I can already see legions of tweens leaving theaters wishing that the actress were their cool older sister. The film also looks like it's banking on her popularity with the younger generation, as she introduces the trailer.

The movie is rounded out by a cast of other recognizable stars: John Corbett ("Sex & the City's" Aidan) and Bridget Moynahan play the girls' parents, while Josh Duhamel and Ginnifer Goodwin are the cool uncle and aunt.

The film also plays with CGI as Ramona travels to the exotic fairy-tale locales she dreams up in her mind. Fantastical journeys are certainly not something I remember being a part of the book series, but I imagine they'll play well on the big screen. I'm also curious as to how familiar today's younger generation is with Cleary's 1950s series -- though it probably won't make much of a difference. Even if the adaptation strays from the book, the film seems to pull off just the right heartwarming tone that will endear Ramona to new audiences.

-- Amy Kaufman

Photo: Selena Gomez and Joey King star in "Ramona and Beezus." Credit: 20th Century Fox.

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