Ramona and Beezus
A 9-year old with a vivid imagination and lack of good judgment, Ramona (played by the adorable Joey King in shaggy page boy haircut) gets laughed off the show-and-tell "stage" in grade school in Ramona and Beezus, but it's totally unbelievable that her classmates don't believe that she has a hole in her house, as she tells them while wearing a hardhat. Why is it hard to buy that a room is being added to her house? It's not like she tried to impress a bunch of hyper kids with a beet.
Beverly Cleary, beloved author of children's books full of characters so familiar that many 7- to 12-year old readers felt more comfortable as imperfect little people because of them, wrote eights books about Ramona Quimby. In 1951, Cleary established the forerunner for Ramona, whose series started in 1955, with the lesser-known Ellen Tebbits, who ripped a huge beet out of the ground, got yelled at by its owner, brought it into her class for show and tell, and got totally humiliated by her classmates.
Ellen broke your heart a little, but it's hard to feel sorry for the movie Ramona: Her mom and dad (Bridget Moynahan and John Corbett) were on Sex and the City, her older sister Beezus (Selena Gomez) is Disney's latest Miley, her Aunt Bea (Ginnifer Goodwin) is the youngest wife on Big Love and has a thing for the neighbor who's married to Fergie of the Black Eyed Peas, and her teacher (Sandra Oh) was--is still?--on Grey's Anatomy.
Ramona has a vivid imagination that sends her into fantasy sequences that are all neatly illustrated and cool, maybe to avoid her family? Kidding! She's a rough and tumble little sister to the perfectly girlie and straight-A Beezus and a big sister to a baby with another B-name and no baby-actress credit on IMDb. The girls' parents start the renovation on their comfy old house in Portland, Ore., before dad Bob loses his job. Mom Dorothy has to go back to work to keep the family afloat, and the stress mounts--but it's, like, kid-movie stress, so it's not too intense except when their (spoiler alert!) cat dies.
Dad looks for work and does a goofy job taking care of the little ones, so when he and Ramona work on an illustrated mural, you see his artistic abilities (spoiler alert!), which solves all their problems by the end of the movie.
Ramona's understanding Aunt Bea has history with the boy/man next door, Hobart (Josh Duhamel), suddenly home after a decade of traveling and trying to forget about the girl he left behind. This slice of romantic drama shoved into the otherwise kids' flick won't even get noticed by most of the young and some of the pre-teen audience, but is totally appreciated by the women in the theater. So, thanks for that. But, seriously, Ramona and Beezus is pretty cute and it's the perfect movie to send your kids (even boys!) and their babysitter/favorite unmarried aunt to go see.