Writer: Syahida KamarudinWriter Ratings:Overall: Cast: Plot: Effects:
NACinematography: Watch this if you liked:
"What a Girl Wants", "Material Girls", and "Parent Trap"
Ah, the saccharine sweetness of a tween flick. The pink pillows, colourful attire, cute boys and the unhidden 'Girl Power' messages roaming around the genre.
You have to dismiss any discussion about a plot when basically, it's just another American-girl-goes-British teenage flick. Girl was wild, girl sent to a British all-girls school, girl learnt a few lessons, girl meets a hunky Brit-boy who apparently is smitten by her American wildness, a climax is thrown in, girl's changed, and voila, the perfect recipe for a teen movie. However, it's sad to say that there's nothing wild about Poppy Moore at all. The character is just a broken doll throwing tantrums to get people to understand her loneliness. If you want wild, throw a pre-Joel Madden, Nicole Richie or Sharpay from "High School Musical" into a British boarding school. Now THAT would be entertaining!
Usually interesting dialogues or witty characters can save a cheesy teen movie. Unfortunately, writer Lucy Dahl has created a very 'dahl' piece of work (no pun intended). It's bad enough that they are using the 'prank' plot formula to show how 'wild' Poppy is. It's ghastly when the pranks are so common, that it might even make Kevin McCallister from "Home Alone" look like the Guru Pitka of all pranks.
Yes, Emma Roberts is Julia Roberts' niece. But it doesn't mean I would sing praises for her acting. In fact, it's her inability to act both wild yet loveable that taints the whole plot. Instead of trying to like the character, my focus was turned to fellow British actresses Juno Temple and Kimberley Nixon. These actresses both excel wonderfully in bringing out the British humour amidst awful one-liners that would sound horrendous if it was said by anybody else. What I mean to say is, "Let's open up a can of kick-a** now" doesn't really spell any originality, right?
As a matter of fact "Wild Child" truly is a neither-nor movie. It's neither your regular Disney-esque tween flick, as you have Poppy teaching the other girls how to turn a good piece of dress into a semi 80s hooker get-up for boys and the occasional hints about sex. Nor it has any aggressive tone like Tina Fey's "Mean Girls", as Hollywood still wants to maintain Emma Robert's sanctity as one of the more decent IT-girls before she goes 360-degree and does a "Pretty Woman" like her aunt Julia.
Watching Poppy's dorm mates do their scene is the only entertainment I get, which reminds me of our own boarding school, albeit Abbey Mount dormitories are more comfortable and has no frequent water problems. The atmosphere of a rule-heavy boarding school is so familiar, that you can't help but reminisce about your own school. That is, if you have spent five years in one. And yes, they manage to make lacrosse look like a thrilling game to play. Kudos for that!
In short, "Wild Child" Poppy Moore is nothing else but "Mild Child" Poppy Moore. Thus, this might be a good movie for people who THINK they were once a 'wild child'. And by 'think' I mean, assume.Cinema Online, 26 November 2008