Nancy Drew 

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The small-town teen sleuth and plucky heroine of a series of mysteries dating back to the 1930s makes an awkward transition to today's big-city criminal scene. Nancy (Emma Roberts) relocates to Los Angeles, and with the help of her rotund comic foil, Corky (Josh Flitter), solves a decades-old mystery regarding the death of a well-known actress. While it's lively and enjoyable, what keeps Andrew Fleming's adaptation from gelling is the decision to make Nancy seem freshly arrived from Planet Retro: She has strenuously old-fashioned clothes, manners and wheels, plus a naiveté about danger that seems misplaced in today's nail-chewing over micro-managed adolescents. The light comedy might have fared better as a period piece, which could have more seamlessly incorporated its fantastical elements. (Nancy rents a mansion; drives all over L.A. knocking on strangers' doors; sidesteps a bomb.) But Nancy is aimed at tweeners, who will likely appreciate Drew's determination, smarts and maybe even her singular fashion sense. (AH) [capsule review]


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