Ramona and Beezus
Beverly Cleary’s popular children’s books come to the screen with their stories mix and matched and embellished, and with grown-up subplots added to supplement the kids’ everyday adventures, but with the characters nevertheless recognizable to the writer’s generations of admirers. Maybe Joey King’s Ramona and Selena Gomez’s Beezus are a bit too Hollywood-cute, like kids hawking Kool-Aid or Cocoa Puffs on Saturday-morning TV; maybe Elizabeth Allen’s direction is a little too perky; maybe John Bailey’s cinematography is just a tad too sparkly and squeaky-clean. But resistance is futile; the movie’s relentless wholesomeness will batter down the defenses of all but the most determined curmudgeon. John Corbett, Bridget Moynahan, Ginnifer Goodwin, Josh Duhamel and Sandra Oh provide solid grown-up support. J.L.