Kit Kitteredge: An American Girl 

Plucky gal makes the best of the Depression in this kid-flick

It's a tough to produce a period drama aimed at smart young girls that doesn't rely on cute shoes, cute boys and cute pets as hooks. So having the wildly popular American Girl doll-and-novel franchise on board can't hurt. Patricia Rozema adapts one such tale of a plucky Midwestern gal and aspiring reporter, Kit Kittredge (portrayed by Abigail Breslin, bravely overcoming a dreadful blonde wig). In the story, the Depression upends the Kittredges' comfy middle-class life. But getting along with good cheer and resourcefulness brings the resilient Kit new friends, useful lessons and, even, a local crime to solve (and report on). The film doesn't entirely ignore the harsh realities of the Depression, but then again, it does offer the nicest, friendliest hobo camp you'll ever see. A lively supporting cast, including Stanley Tucci, Joan Cusack and Julia Ormond, and a girl-positive (but not cloyingly girlie) vibe will help buoy accompanying adults through the film's somewhat rosy vision of hard times. (AH) [capsule review]

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