Bratz goes to Blighty

WILD CHILD Di­rected by Nick Moore. Star­ring Emma Roberts, Natasha Richard­son, Aidan Quinn, Shirley Henderson, Alex Pet­tyfer, Linzey Cocker

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - Filmreviews - DON­ALD CLARKE

SO THE baf­fling rise of Emma Roberts con­tin­ues. Af­ter be­ing not very good in Aqua­ma­rine and then be­ing less than great in Nancy Drew, the perky teen, daugh­ter of Eric, niece of Ju­lia, has now se­cured a lead role in Work­ing Ti­tle’s latest teen com­edy. Last month she even man­aged to make it on to the cover of Variety Fair. How does Emma do it? It’s al­most as if she has con­nec­tions in the busi­ness.

Any­way, Wild Child is a dire at­tempt to marry Mal­ibu bling with Hog­warts cosi­ness. Roberts plays a spoilt Amer­i­can child who, af­ter an­ger­ing her fa­ther with one too many im­promptu par­ties, is sent

12A cert, gen re­lease, 90 min away to a draughty English pub­lic school to get some man­ners.

This is a very odd ver­sion of Eng­land in­deed. Clearly de­prived of TV, mag­a­zines or com­put­ers, the kids at Snooty Tow­ers ap­pear unfamiliar with the ac­cou­trements of the con­tem­po­rary well-off teenager. When Emma pro­duces a mo­bile phone, one half ex­pects the toffs to seek out the near­est fag­got of sticks and burn her as a witch.

Fool­ishly, they de­cide to make friends in­stead. Af­ter a cat­a­logue of bold mis­un­der­stand­ings and in­sanely con­trived plot twists, Emma learns about hu­mil­ity and so­cial tol­er­ance from the fa­mously hum­ble and so­cially tol­er­ant English up­per classes. They, in turn, learn some­thing or other from her.

No­body ex­pects proper writ­ing in this sort of en­ter­tain­ment, but the ca­reer­ing lazi­ness of the plot plumbs new depths. Some of the English girls are pass­ably charm­ing, whereas the ro­man­tic lead, Storm­breaker’s Alex Pet­tyfer, acts as if he is read­ing his lines for the first time from badly writ­ten cue cards.

And Ms Roberts? Well I am sure she’s a nice girl, and I wish her a long ca­reer in an­i­mal hus­bandry, plumb­ing sup­plies or quan­tity sur­vey­ing. Any­thing other than act­ing.

Ju­lia (left) and her stylish crew

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