A very enjoyable little feature based upon the books by Beverly Cleary, "Ramona and Beezus" stars Selena Gomez ("Wizards of Waverly Place") as Beezus Cleary, a young woman going through the awkward phase of being a teenager while living with her two parents (Bridget Moynahan and John Corbett) and little sister, Ramona (Joey King), who often remains lost in her imagination.
Directed by Elizabeth Allen ("Aquamarine"), the picture follows the two girls as Ramona navigates her rich imagination and elementary school while Beezus tries to face becoming a young adult. When the family runs into trouble, Ramona tries her hardest to support the family by working around the neighborhood, while the family bands together more than ever to try and support each other through tough times. Also lending support to the girls is their Aunt Bea, played with heart by Ginnifer Goodwin.
The 103-minute picture is largely centered around the family and the experiences of the two girls as they face growing up (with Ramona finding her way into mischief on occasion), but there's helpings of drama (with the family), comedy and even a couple of romantic subplots thrown in, including Josh Duhamel as a love interest for Goodwin's character.
While the mix of tones could have become messy, director Elizabeth Allen keeps the pace brisk and shifts between tones crisp and smooth. Additionally, in terms of the drama, it's nice to see that the movie's emotional moments feel genuine and only on a couple of occasions start to feel a touch heavy-handed. Helping quite a bit are the performances, which are sweet and genuine - although King and Corbett are particular highlights. Overall, this is an enjoyable, wholesome (G-rated) family film.
VIDEO: The bright, colorful family film is generally well-represented on this 2.35:1 (1080p/AVC) transfer from 20th Century Fox. The presentation remained mostly crisp and detailed, with pleasing levels of small object detail in a number of scenes. A few light traces of edge enhancement were seen at times, but rarely caused any sort of distraction. Colors looked bright and well-saturated, with no smearing or other faults. Overall, a very nice presentation that won't leave fans blu, er...blue.
SOUND: The film is presented with a DTS HD 5.1 Master Lossless Audio presentation. The film's sound design is a basic, dialogue-driven comedy mix, with little in the way of surround activity. Audio quality was fine, with a crisp score and clear dialogue.
EXTRAS: Deleted scenes, audition footage, gag reel, "Life After Film School" documentary, "Show and Tell" featurette, "My Ramona With Beverly Cleary" piece and "A Day in the Life With Joey King" featurette.
Final Thoughts: Overall, "Ramona and Beezus" remains a fun, wholesome family picture, with solid performances. The Blu-Ray is a bit light on extras, but offers solid audio/video quality. Recommended.
The Film B