This most recent "Nancy Drew" adaptation is relocated from River Heights to Los Angeles as Nancy (Emma Roberts) accompanies her father (Tate Donovan) on a business trip.
Seems to me that it doesn't matter how well established a setting might be for a particular character, the filmmakers always relocate to L.A. I'm sick of L.A. It's a cess pool, yet everyone who lives there seems to think it's the CENTER OF THE UNIVERSE. If Copernicus rose from the dead and traveled to Los Angeles, filmmakers would force him to conclude that the sun doesn't just revolve around the earth, it revolves around L.A. The reason for said move is so that director Andrew ("Dick") Fleming can make tired comparisons between old values and new - between small town etiquette and big town moral corruption.
Nancy arrives in Hollywood sporting dress conservative enough that her hem lines can be seen from space. Everyone Nancy meets is ill-mannered, from her classmates in high school to the bad guys who don't want her to find out if Jane Brighton (Rachel Leigh Cook) is Draycott's rightful heir. In her little 50's roadster, Nancy is menaced on the Los Angeles streets by bad guys driving, what else, an SUV. Naturally, things are much simpler in Riverdale Heights. The film opens with Nancy catching a couple of criminals who behave like they took a course in "How to Be Arrested" from Miss Manners. Then there's Nancy's would-be boyfriend, Ned (Max Thieriot), who's that passive, sweet, well-behaved guy whose hopes to kiss Nancy would be crushed by her real-world counterpart with a "Dear Ned" text message.
Ultimately Drew, whose quest to solve the mystery of her summer house and its famous dead past owner, actress Dehlia Draycott (Laura Harring), represents that disingenuous nostalgic fondness so many people have for the 50's and/or small-town living. They pretend that both represent the pinnacle of good behavior and proper values. Fortunately, we know from things like "Waitress" that small-towners can be ill-behaved just like the rest of us and from Brown v. Board of Education decision, that the 50's wasn't all it was cracked up to be.
Sure, "Nancy Drew" is awash in traditional values and will undoubtedly get the "Focus on the Family" seal of approval. America can get high off the purity of it all. Just know that it's a false high.
To spread the word about this Nancy Drew review on Twitter.To get instant updates of Mr. Cranky reviews, subscribe to our RSS feed.