Ramona's King of her Castle
Being 40 years old, British and male hopefully means that it will come as little surprise when I say I have never heard of Beverly Cleary or her series of children's novels on which "Ramona and Beezus" is based. It will probably surprise you more that a 40 year old bloke from Britain watched "Ramona and Beezus" and was pleasantly surprised by the innocent but occasionally clever children's movie. I say clever because in between a lot of familiar children's elements such as despite Ramona's best intentions she causes chaos the look at issues from a child's mind works well.
9 year old Ramona (Joey King) does her best to be good, in fact she never does things with a malicious heart but somehow she always causes chaos. But there is other chaos in her life to worry about as whilst her parents are under standing her father has just lost his job and money is getting tight, especially with a new extension being built causing Ramona to try and take a lot in.
To be honest "Ramona and Beezus" doesn't have a huge main storyline but is more like a series of events in Ramona's life as things change. So in a way it is quite typical because Ramona has some growing up to do, understanding about how things change and what it means when the bank could take the house away. And on the typical note Ramona also ends up causing chaos despite never intending to, from her sister accidentally drinking lemonade with a fly in it to being sick in school.
But whilst "Ramona and Beezus" may not be the most original idea for a children's movie it is full of charm. In fact because it is such an innocent children's movie it is quite refreshing as well with some smart scenes about a middle child growing up and dealing with being laughed at. Yes it is all very peachy clean and fairytale false but it all contributes to the refreshing innocence.
Now Joey King is a big part of why "Ramona and Beezus" works because she is cute, a little mischievous but not precocious as many child actors can come across. In truth she is believable and you begin to wonder whether Joey is playing Ramona or just being herself. It does help that there is also a great supporting cast which includes Selena Gomez, John Corbett, Bridget Moynahan, Ginnifer Goodwin and Josh Duhamel who all bring some fun to their characters.
What this all boils down to is that "Ramona and Beezus" is a refreshingly innocent children's movie. It isn't by any means original but because it is as inoffensive as you can get it makes a surprisingly pleasant change.