I loved Beverly Cleary's books so much when I was younger that I suffered the wrath of Mrs. Horn, the school librarian who deemed them "too easy" and would snatch them from me and replace them with something dull. Kids since 1950 have similarly embraced Cleary's wonderful children's novels about Henry Huggins, his neighbor Beezus (Beatrice) Quimby, and her mischievous little sister Ramona, a pest with an overactive imagination. Nine-year-old Ramona (Joey King) gets top billing in Elizabeth Allen's live-action adaptation of Cleary's Ramona and Beezus, falling into misadventures ranging from spilling paint all over a neighbor's Jeep to humiliating sister Beezus (Disney star Selena Gomez) in front of nascent heartthrob Henry (Hutch Dano). The movie tries, with mixed success, to update the Cleary universe with computer animation, cloying pop songs, teen romance, and Nickelodeon-style slapstick. But it deserves credit for incorporating a timely recession theme (Ramona's dad, endearingly played by John Corbett, loses his job) and capturing, as Cleary did, the angst of being a kid who's different.
Director: Elizabeth Allen
Writer: Laurie Craig and Beverly Cleary
Producer: Denise Di Novi and Alison Greenspan
Cast: Joey King, Selena Gomez, John Corbett, Bridget Moynahan, Ginnifer Goodwin, Josh Duhamel and Sandra Oh