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July 2008 Reviews

By Shawn McKenzie 07/30/2008

Here are my reviews of the movies that were released in July of 2008.  Check back later as the month progresses for more reviews.

Go directly to my review of Kit Kittredge: An American Girl.

Kit Kittredge: An American Girl Review

In 1934, 10-year-old Margaret Mildred “Kit” Kittredge (Abigail Breslin) from Cincinnati dreams of being a reporter for her hometown paper, the Cincinnati Register.  She also has a tree house club with members like Ruthie Smithens (Madison Davenport)…the daughter of the local banker…and sisters Frances (Brieanne Jansen) and Florence (Erin Hilgartner) Stone.  Kit’s father Jack (Chris O’Donnell) owns a car dealership, but this being the Great Depression, he is having a hard time making ends meet.  Kit’s Uncle Hendrick (Kenneth Welsh) thinks that Jack and his wife/Kit’s mom Margaret (Julia Ormond) are living beyond their means because they have a huge house, but the family knows that isn’t true.  When the bank forecloses on the Stone sisters’ house (they live next door) and evict them, Kit gets nervous that something similar will happen to them.  She has a reason to be nervous, because the bank forecloses on Jack’s dealership, forcing him to go to Chicago to find work.  Since they have such a big house, Margaret takes in a few boarders, including snobby Louise Howard (Glenne Headly) and her son Stirling (Zach Mills), who defends Kit from teasing coming from Roger (Austin Macdonald), the class bully.  Others include flighty mobile librarian Miss Bond (Joan Cusack), who tends to crash the mobile library into things; flirty dance instructor Miss Mae Dooley (Jane Krakowski), who hits on any single man; and magician Jefferson Jasper René Berk (Stanley Tucci) along with his brother Freidreich (Dylan Smith) and his monkey Curtis, who both arrive later.  Young hobos Will Shepherd (Max Thieriot) and Countee (Willow Smith) offer to work around the house in exchange for food, and Louise doesn’t approve of having the hobos hanging around.  Kit is worried that she and her mom will end up having to sell eggs, as the Stone sisters’ mom (Colette Kendall) had to do, which indicates that they have hit an all-time low financially.  In a way to find an alternative source of income, she pitches her stories about the Chicago World’s Fair to the Register’s city editor, Mr. Gibson (Wallace Shawn), who tells her that they pay a penny per word for any freelance work published in the paper, but he isn’t interested in her stories, because that story has been covered already.  She decides to focus on hobos like Will and Countee by visiting their “hobo jungle” and meeting other friendly hobos, like Shelton Pennington (Colin Mochrie), who shows her that they aren’t the people that Louise makes them out to be.  When a hobo crime wave erupts, Kit uses her journalistic skills to get to the bottom of the crimes…especially when Will is suspected of stealing mortgage payments and other things from the boarders.  The American Girl brand is a line of dolls and accessories based on pre-teen-girl characters from various periods of American history, and educator Pleasant Rowland created them in 1986.  She started selling them by mail order and later they were sold over the Internet.  They are currently second only to Barbie in terms of U.S. doll sales.  She sold her company to Mattel (the manufacturer of Barbie) for $770 million in 1998.  This movie is actually the fourth American Girl movie, and the first one to be released theatrically.  “Samantha: An American Girl Holiday” was a TV movie broadcast on the former WB network in 2003 and starred Denver-born AnnaSophia Robb as Samantha.  “Felicity: An American Girl Adventure” aired on The WB in 2005 with Felicity played by Shailene Woodley, and “Molly: An American Girl on the Home Front” aired on the Disney Channel in 2006 with Maya Ritter starring as Molly. I saw the first two WB movies when they originally aired, and this one is no different from those ones. I clearly remember Robb from the first one, but so much of Woodley from the second one. Breslin is a bigger star (and the supporting cast is more high profile as well), which is why it got a theatrical release, but the feel of it is similar. They all take place sometime in American history (all of them except “Felicity” takes place in the early 20th Century), they have a spunky pre-teen girl, and there is always a happy ending. Breslin does a good job, and the supporting cast does as well, but I’m still hoping that the actress will do another non-family friendly role. Her character was like a Depression-era Nancy Drew. I will admit that the movie was very positive for having taken place in one of our country’s darkest periods. The movie was just okay for me, but any pre-teen girl, especially one that may own an American Doll doll, will love it.


Ratings System:


Catch this movie at the theater if you can...

Wait until it comes out on video...

Wait until it plays on HBO, Showtime, Starz, etc...

Demand your money back, even if you saw it for free!

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