Paxton Makes a Little Splash
If you are a girl and about 11 years old then I hope you enjoy "Aquamarine", if you don't then the producers have made one hell of a mistake as this is a movie made for 11 year old girls and no one else. I can't see why you wouldn't enjoy it with it's fairytale style romance with a mermaid needing to find love and a couple of young girls who follow all the dating advice dished up in glossy mags. There's even an obligatory fashion montage as they take the mermaid clothes shopping, a scene which is painfully cheesy for anyone who isn't an 11 year old girl. But because "Aquamarine" does have such a narrow market it doesn't serve anything up to entertain anyone else who finds themselves watching this as in adults with their children.
At the Capri Beach Club young friends Claire (Emma Roberts) and Hailey (Joanna Levesque - RV) can't keep their eyes off of hunky lifeguard Raymond (Jake McDorman) and they are not the only ones as local bitch Cecilia (Arielle Kebbel - American Pie Presents Band Camp) also has her eyes on the beach hunk. But Hailey has other concerns as well because her mum is moving to Australia and taking her with her despite her objections. But those problems are put to the side when the morning after a storm they discover Aquamarine (Sara Paxton), a mermaid who got washed into the Club's pool. With just 3 days for Aquamarine to find love or else be forced to marry her father's choice of Merman, the three get to work trying to set Aquamarine up with Raymond without him ever learning the truth about her.
Now I am not meaning to sound harsh but whilst as a whole "Aquamarine" pieces together a reasonable storyline, considering its target audience, I did find myself remembering other movies which covered similar story elements in a much better way and yes I do mean "Splash" which had a much wider appeal. But then "Aquamarine" has a target audience and the two storylines, that of Hailey having to leave her new friend Claire as her mum is moving to Australia and that of them finding Aquamarine the mermaid who needs to find love, work well. There is enough simplistic fairytale romance going on to appeal to young girls and with the hunky Ray and the nasty Cecilia it sets up a series of entertaining but obvious scenes. To put it this way, young children may not know where this movie is going but anyone older will know what is going to happen.
In fairness not everything is obvious when it comes to the outcome but what happens along the way most certainly is. All the humour of Aquamarine trying to hide the truth that she is a mermaid from Raymond serves up such scenes as she has to get home before the sun goes down or else her legs turn back to a tail. And then there is the old chestnut of if she gets her legs wet she will instantly revert back to being a mermaid. Even the humour of Cecilia smelling something fishy when it comes to Aquamarine is for the most obvious but for young children it works.
But as with so many movies made for children these days the performances are for the most forgettable. Emma Roberts and Joanna 'JoJo' Levesque are quite good as Claire and Hailey yet they are so cliche that they end up forgettable. Jake McDorman is just as forgettable as Raymond and whilst Arielle Kebbel at least shows some bite as the bitch Cecilia it is again just a cliche character. And then there is Sara Paxton as Aquamarine who tries to get across the fun and naivety of her character as she experiences having legs yet only ends up coming across as an airhead which feels wrong. But to be repetitive young 11 year old girls will probably enjoy these characters because whilst unoriginal they are sort of fun.
What this all boils down to is that "Aquamarine" is made with a very specific target audience in mind, 11 year old girls and for anyone else it just doesn't work.