3 out of 10


Romance, Run-of-the-Mill Harlequin Style

Two preteen girls, a spend the last of their summer vacation helping some bimbo win the heart of the local cool dude. And the mermaid angle? Honestly, it is little more than a Trojan Horse to ensure the success of a stale old plotline that should never have broken through even the first line of the studio script-readers. Devoid of almost every conceivable special effect, "Aquamarine" closely resembles the formulaic kitch that Disney used to crank out every couple of weeks in the 1970's. So, just how did this tosh make it all the way to the big screen? The fact that the two precocious school girls are from the families of famous superstars explains much...your money is bankrolling a platform to launch them into show business.

Despite being based on a children's book by author Alice Hoffman, the screenplay was written by ex-model Jessica Bendinger, one of the airheads responsible for "Sex and the City" and John Quintance, the man behind the lamentable "Joey," the cash-grab spin-off from "Friends." It hardly takes a PhD to figure out that this is no meeting of great minds. With the mermaid Aquamarine reduced to a bubble-headed beach blonde, the studio have typecast Sara Paxton in the title role. A child star with 34 forgettable credits to her name including "Born Again Krabs/I Had An Accident" that might have been more accurately entitled "Born Again Accident/I Had Krabs," Paxton has no difficulty in slipping into, or rather down to, her role.

Screenwriting is supposed to be about "suspension of belief" but "Aquamarine" requires more the "suspension of intelligence." The audience are actually required to accept the central premise that Aquamarine has fallen instantly in true love with the local lifeguard Raymond (Jake McDorman...or maybe more appropriately Jake McDORMANT in view of his acting skills) at exactly the same time as being given just a couple of days to prove to her father the existance of love. There then follows about 90 minutes of her hurling herself at him without the slightest shade of self-respect, in behaviour, that in a man, would have him surely jailed for stalking.

Although there are a few laughs, including many at the expense of teen glamour magazines, the plot pans out as formulaic as one feared. Even so, it does have a small but touching twist regarding Leonard the odd job man played by New Zealander Bruce Spence, a fine character actor with over 70 great roles to his credit. Sadly, he clearly deserved more than to be left adrift in a sea of surplus bimbos, both those performing on screen and those typing up this junk on their PCs at home.

Maybe if it had been directed by someone other than a girl fresh out of school, it might have been better, but alas no.

Deserves To Be Sleeping With The Fishes

Film Critic: Robert L Thompsett