Monday, January 19, 2009

Wild Child (Nick Moore, 2008)

Emma Roberts’ Poppy is a right little madam. She lives in a massive bedroom in a massive house and always gets her way; that way generally being of hedonistic spending on Jimmy Choo and Gucci. At the start of the movie, she ruins in for herself when she sabotages her dad’s girlfriend’s moving in; crossing a very thin line and getting herself sent to boarding school in England as punishment.

On arrival in Abbey Mount School, she wastes no time in making enemies with the Head Girl Harriet, as well as getting into bad books of the head teacher, who, nonetheless, determines to see the good in her. After some amusing episodes at the school, including a Western-style face-off with lacross sticks against Harriet and getting a bucket of dirt poured over her head, Poppy decides she’d rather not deal and sets about getting expelled so she can head back home to be with her bessies in Malibu. And the sure-fire way to get expelled? Why, to snog Freddie, the head’s son, of course.

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Wild Child does pretty much everything it says on the tin – provide 90 minutes of decent entertainment. As a teenage girl, I saw elements of myself in more than a few of the characters, even in the spoilt lead, and the moments when Poppy’s dorm mates speculate over her sexual history raised a wry smile of recognition within me. There are some genuinely funny moments – a throwaway comment about dwarf-prostitutes inadvertently brought memories of In Bruges, Poppy putting “Call Me” cards in a local phone booth leading to the Head Girl getting naughty phone calls, as well as Nick Frost’s cameo as a hairdresser who’s camper than a row of tents, sporting the line, “And I need a back wax and a night with Michael Buble, but we don’t always get what we want”. Wild Child won’t tax the brain cells in any way, shape or, form, but it’s pleasantly enjoyable as writer Lucy Dahl (daughter of Roald) practically spells the plot out for us– Poppy gets reminded to log off her e-mail; one wonders what will happen the instance she forgets(!)

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Emma Roberts as Poppy Moore is one of the most grating teens on celluloid. The idea is that her character mellows and becomes a better person as the film progresses, but no amount of dying her hair brown and unconvincing epiphanies about her inner soul could lead me to like her. Likewise, Alex Pettyfer is a complete and utter waste of space as Freddie, both in terms of eye candy value (gimme a footballer, any day), and acting talent, of which he possesses none. The lack of the latter is accentuated with the weak writing in the romantic moments, when we as the audience must really suspend belief that any human not taking the piss would really spout some of the stuff he does. Few on-screen couples have made me want to gag less.

Fortunately, the rest of the cast are an unequivocal joy. My favourite characters were Kate and Drippy, played by Kimberly Nixon and Juno Temple. They are Poppy’s roommates, who slowly but surely become her friends and accustom her to the ways of boarding school life, as well as embracing the fun in her as well. Nixon, who is next to be seen in Cherrybomb with Rupert Grint, is the role of compassion throughout the film, and Atonement’s Juno Temple is a fine, fine comic actress who’s candyfloss hair and big eyes are a compelling watch throughout. Poppy’s room-mates are those that provide much of the girly fun. There’s also laughs to be had with the intense smarminess of the Head Girl Harriet, who’s hilariously deluded herself into thinking that a) Freddie returns her feelings of love for him and b) she looks like Keira Knightley. Her cronies are somewhat more graceful versions of Crabbe and Goyle, and, like Crabbe and Goyle, they’re minions that provide entertainment.

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The “I am Spartacus”-style scene, along with the film’s attempts to strike emotional resonance made me groan, but on the whole, the larfs I got from the film were intentional. It’s no Mean Girls and probably won’t go on Working Title’s back catalogue of masterpieces, but as a fun watch that says a thing or two about who your real mates are, Wild Child certainly suffices.

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18 comments:

anahita said...

ok, I've never seen this, and tbh the one and only attraction would be juno temple, who is an abolsute star but...

OH MY GOSH OH MY GOSH OH MY FRICKIN GOSH. I just got back from watching slumdog millionaire.

OH

MY

GOSH

you NEED to watch it. It's AMAZING. It's absolutely phenomenal.

sorry, I needed somewhere to express my joy...

YAYOMGITWASSOGOOOOODD!!!

Emma said...

Awesome! I can't wait to see it. I think it'll probably be Wednesday when I do.

Anonymous said...

Anyway who can not see the awesomeness of Alex Pettyfer is clearly so lacking in taste that their every opinion is suspect. I reject you.

Emma said...

Ooooh, scathing. *cries*

Jog on.

Catherine said...

Hah, I went to the Dublin premiere of this film! A group of my friends and I were standing outside Cineworld, debating what to see, when a guy in a suit came up to us and asked if we'd like to see a free movie. We were all a little dubious, but then I spotted a limo pull up at the curb. Naturally curious, I tried to get a look inside the limo although I didn't have to try too hard as the door soon swung open to reveal Emma Roberts. "omg you guys, Emma Roberts is here! Unfabulous, everybody! Let's go to this thing".

So, we did, and took our free tickets up to the top floor of the cinema with its biggest screen. Hah it was hilarious - invites had been sent out to all these young girls weeks in advance who had dressed up so fancily for the occasion. There were even grown women in long gowns. While there we were, all dolled up for...a regular night at the cinema. So, jeans, sweaters, t-shirts, Converse. We looked so out of place. We ended up sitting right at the very front because they were the only seats available, which meant we were right in front of one of Emma Robert's bodyguards, who was freaking us out throughout the entire film. He had these sunglasses with like, infra-red in them? And he kept scanning the audience with these glasses, searching for cameras and such I guess. Because we were all laughing so riotously at the stupidity of the film and the fact we were there and what we looked like, he kept shining a pencil torch right at us and glaring. Only made it funnier.

Yeah, the film's rubbish but I did laugh a few times. Drippy ftw! It killed me during the school fire, when Drippy is missing and all the teachers and the headmistress who are looking for her are calling her Drippy, too. Could not stop laughing at that. Also, the scene where they try and buy alcohol? Am I remembering this correctly? And they're all walking around the shop talking about their deadlines and how busy their life is, etc. That was pretty funny, too.

Finally (and I can't believe I typed this much on Wild Child of all things!), the absolute funniest part of the entire film was, I hope, unintentional. Y'know the end, when she's playing lacrosse or whatever it was and her dad is watching? And he's staring at his daughter, with her new hair colour, kick ass at lacrosse, and he flashes back to his own wife, with the same hair, also kicking ass at lacrosse...the same wife who is played, in a blurry b&w photo, by Emma Roberts? As he gazed at her, I leaned over to my friend and whispered "...incest?" and from then on, everything the poor father did or said, we just took as a double entendre.

Okay, I'm done. No, actually. Anonymous? You were probably joking, but if you weren't, let me reassure you that Pettyfer is just as useless in the flesh as he is onscreen. A woman from an entertainment tv show on Irish tv held a brief q&a with him and Roberts before the screening. She asked him, "So, what's your character like?" and he replied "Oh, wow, that's a tough one, I have to think". Um, no. It's not a tough one.

Emma said...

That is such an awesome story! It sounds like one of the most amusing cinema trips ever, and makes me pine for the good old days of failed Rupert Grint stalking in London London... we never get exciting/hilarious events like this in Bath.

Incest never occured to me during that scene, but I did laugh, because of the camera zoomed into the dad's face, then there was heavy heart palpatations and everything slowed down dramatically. Heart palpatations? Come to think of it, I have no idea why incest didn't cross my mind.

And the scene where they try buying alcohol was indeed very funny! I loved it when Drippy gets asked "What's your husband's report on?" and she struggles with an answer, before going "Business." And then she ruins the (admittedly poor) facade when she asks for two creme eggs, and that's all they leave the store with.

Alex Pettyfer really is as dumb as he looks then!

Anonymous said...

ate a lot on the first sahur...sleep...woke up at 6pm,watched my favourite cartoon...then BUKA....muahahahahaha!
so practically like any normal days for me.nyahahaha!


ya,im such a pig.
*grunt!*
hehe! :]

Lisa V said...

I LOVE THIS FILM.

Great review. How are you doing Emmabung?

Anonymous said...

go my sister (: ilove you
from emily roberts x

Nasim said...

Oh God, I feel for you. Unrequited love sucks, I know, but especially if she's PLAYING with you. That's cold.
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dubaiexperies said...

alcohol was indeed very funny! I loved it when Drippy gets asked "What's your husband's report on?" and she struggles with an answer, before going "Business." And then she ruins the (admittedly poor) facade when she asks for two creme eggs, and that's all they leave the store with.
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Nasim said...

I tried to get a look inside the limo although I didn't have to try too hard as the door soon swung open to reveal Emma Roberts. "omg you guys, Emma Roberts is here! Unfabulous, everybody! Let's go to this thing".
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Wild Child 2008 said...

Looking to be nice film. I never watched this film. Wishing that watch it very soon.

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checking said...

I didn't have to try too hard as the door soon swung open to reveal Emma Roberts. "omg you guys, Emma Roberts is here! Unfabulous, everybody! Let's go to this thing".saga hair

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