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