Wild Child

  • Year:2008
  • Rating:PG
  • Director:Nick Moore
  • Cast:Lexi Ainsworth
  • Release Date:September 18, 2008
  • Distributor:Universal
  • Running time:98 minutes
  • Film Worth:$9.00
  • FILMINK rates movies out of $20 - the score indicates the amount we believe a ticket to the movie to be worth

“…a spirited, upbeat romp.”

What begins as tedious teen comedy/drama about a Californian brat turns out to be a surprisingly agreeable popcorn flick. Poppy (Emma Roberts) is the wild child who pushes her dad (Aidan Quinn) just a little too far. To curb her bad behaviour, he packs her off to an all-girl British boarding school, where she alienates herself from the pack by flaunting her wealth and Malibu-bred style. Poppy is initially somewhat annoying (which may or may not be a testament to Roberts' acting prowess) but as the students warm to her, so do we.

Roberts (daughter of Eric and niece of Julia) is more than competent as the lead, although she doesn't quite have Aunty Julia's charisma. Natasha Richardson nails the part of the no-nonsense but compassionate headmistress Mrs. Kingsley, taking the role beyond the cliche to give Wild Child added weight. Quinn just pleasantly passes through as Poppy's dad, and the familiar face of Scottish actress Shirley Henderson (the Harry Potter series) is good to see. More problematic is the stagey performance from Georgia King as Poppy's rival, Harriet, who should have been the character you love-to-hate. The rest of the likeable teen cast, however, more than make up for King's misfire.

Roberts and Richardson aren't the only ones from famous families attached to this film. Writer Lucy Dahl - daughter of Roald and actress Patricia Neal - doesn't exactly live up to her literary pedigree. The dialogue is predictable at times, yet Dahl does put the girls into some imaginative situations. Funny in parts, the film's dramatic moments are unexpectedly strong. We've been here before, but Wild Child is still a spirited, upbeat romp.

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