Movie Details

WILD CHILD

Poppy Moore`s mother`s death five years ago has led her to a life filled with parties and booze, which turns the sixteen-year-old into a self-obsessed, incorrigible brat. Though she`s handed credit cards with unlimited balances and surrounded by countless hangers on, Poppy can`t escape the mounting frustration she feels with her family situation, and she makes sure that everyone knows it. After an over-the-top prank that pushes her father one step too far, Poppy is shipped off to an English boarding school. Finding herself in a foreign world of early curfews, stern matrons and mandatory lacrosse, the American princess has finally met her match: a school of British girls who won`t tolerate her spoiled ways. Under the watchful eye of the school`s headmistress and surrounded by a new circle of friends, Poppy begrudgingly realises her bad-girl behaviour will only get her so far.

Language: English
Subtitle: NA
Classification: PG
Release Date: 27 Nov 2008
Genre: Comedy / Romance
Running Time: 1 Hour 39 Minutes
Distributor: UNITED INTERNATIONAL PICTURES
Cast: Alex Pettyfer, Natasha Richardson, Aidan Quinn, Juno Temple
Director:
Format: NA

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Review
Writer: Syahida Kamarudin

Writer Ratings:
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Effects: NA
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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
   
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Classification
Effective 15 July 2011
G - Suitable for all ages
PG - Suitable for all ages, but parents should provide guidance to their young
PG13 - Suitable for persons aged 13 and above, but parental guidance is advised for children below 13
NC16 - Suitable for persons aged 16 years and above
M18 - Suitable for persons aged 18 years and above
R21 - Restricted to persons aged 21 and above only
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