cranky home
Reviews since 1993:   A-E     F-N      O-Z    Posters       Who We Are and Why We Do What We Do         Search the Site

Your Donations support the Site

amazon.gif
Top Selling DVD     Books

BLU-RAY DVDs:
50 Shades of Grey
Exodus Gods and Kings
Grand Budapest Hotel
Imitation Game, The
Into the Woods

Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit
Robocop
Selma
Theory of Everything
Ride Along
We're the Millers
The Great Gatsby
Akira
Avatar
The Avengers
Amazing Spider-Man
Girl w/ Dragon Tattoo
Dark Knight Trilogy
World War Z
Happy Feet 2
Iton Man 3 combo
Batman Begins
Dark Knight
Fifth Element
The Hangover
Hunger Games
James Bond 11 disc coll.
Lord of the Rings trilogy
Mission Impossible GP
Sherlock Holmes AGOS
Singing in the Rain
Snow White Huntsman
Star Trek Into Darkness combo
Star Wars Saga
21 Jump Street
Ultimate Matrix coll
X-Men First Class
X-Men Trilogy
X-Men Wolverine

 BLU-Ray for Family DVDs 
Alice in Wonderland (2010)
Bambi
A Bug's Life
Cars
Chronicles of Narnia set
Coraline
Ghostbusters
Harry Potter 1-8 collection
Iron Man 2 combo
Kung Fu Panda
Lord of the Rings Trilogy Pinocchio
Pirates of Caribbean trilogy
Pixar short films
Ratatouille
Rio
Shrek the Whole Story
Sleeping Beauty
The Smurfs
combo
Snow White & 7 Dwarfs
Star Trek motion pictures set
Star Trek TNG Season One
Star Wars Saga (1-6)
Toy Story combo
Toy Story 2 combo
Toy Story 3 combo
Wall-E SE

OFCS

Search engine by FreeFind
Click to add search to YOUR web site!
click to search site

 DISNEY PIXAR DVDs
Alice in Wonderland
Bambi
Beauty and the Beast
Bolt
Cinderella
Coraline
E.T.
Kung Fu Panda
The Lion King
Mary Poppins 45th LE
Pinocchio
Princess Mononoke
Ratatouille
Rio 
Shrek the Whole Story
Simpsons Movie
Spider-Man Trilogy
Spirited Away
Star Trek movies set
Star Trek TOS (TV)
ST:TNG complete tv set
Star Wars Trilogy (1-3)
Star Wars Trilogy (4-6)
Toy Story DVD combo
Toy Story 2 DVD combo
Toy Story 3 DVD combo
Wallace and Gromit
Wall-E SE

Buy Movie collectibles
TV/Movie Collectibles

movie review query engine

NY film critics online

Privacy Policy

kit kittredge
Click for full sized poster

Kit Kittredge:
An American Girl

Starring Abigail Breslin, Julia Ormond, Chris O'Donnell with Glenne Headley, Wallace Shawn, Jane Krakowski, Joan Cusack and Stanley Tucci
Screenplay by Ann Peacock
Based on the “Kit Kittredge” stories by Valerie Tripp.
Directed by Patricia Rozema
website: www.kitkittredge.com/

IN SHORT: A Gem of a Family Friendly flick. [Rated G. 100 minutes]

We admit that we sometimes dread sitting for "family friendly" flicks. More often than not they pander to the kidlets and bore those of us who are parental age to tears. Or they assume that the audience has read the source material and lock out those of us -- hey it's the adult demo again! -- out. So here comes Kit Kittredge: An American Girl, already a hit in novel form for girl kidlets and tweens and completely unknown to us.

With one minor flaw in the story telling, the film is a lot of fun. We suspect that boys just out of that tween stage won't sit to stare at star Abigail Breslin. Those just entering, uh, puberty probably will. Breslin, who to our eyes shot this film in two stages as her own growth hormones seem to be kicking in, carries the film well. For the adults in the audience, there are terrific dramatic and comedic performances by Stanley Tucci and Joan Cusack -- and any film managing to balance drama and comic relief as well as this one does, deserves a critical nod (even if the resolution of a big mystery in the plot comes way too easily. More on that later).

Middle aged guy that Cranky is, we get five or ten or so minutes of one Jane Krakowski on the big screen. We'd roll over and beg for five or ten minutes with one Jane Krakowski. Been saying it since her Ally McBeal days <vbg>.

Kit Kittredge is a Depression-era story of a fairly well off family. Dad (Chris O'Donnell) runs a car franchise. Mom (Julia Ormond) lunches with the local ladies, who discuss the awful local situation (what with a hobo encampment springing up outside their town. Hoboes = theft, y'know.) But as the "Liberal Savings Bank" -- that's its name -- forcloses houses in the neighborhood right and left, Kit begins to understand the awfulness of the Depression that is bearing down on her world. Dad loses his franchise and heads to Chicago looking for work. Mom takes in boarders, including a bookmobile driver Miss Bond (Cusack); Mr. Berk (Tucci), a touring magician; and Miss Dooley, a "man-hungry dance instructor" Miss Dooley (Krakowski).

Kit wiles away her days in grade school and the rest of her time in a treehouse built by Dad. There, with best friend Ruthie Smivens (Madison Davenport) and new friend Stirling Howard (Zach Mills). Stirling's mother waits anxiously for the return of her husband. Hopefully with job. Stirling knows better, but that's a well conceived surprise in the film. We've said too much already.

Kit dreams of a job as a reporter for the Cinncinnatti Register, edited by Mr. Gibson (Wallace Shawn), who pays a penny a word -- two or three bucks in a time when a dollar was a dollar! She's but ten years old and Gibson rebuffs her. But Kit Kittredge will not be rebuffed! And a great story lies just a paragraph away . . . <vbg>

The arrival of Berk's cousin Frederick Burke (Dylan Smith) and his pet monkey provides a bit of comic relief and presages the terrible theft of a lock box in the boarding house, containing the valuable possessions of all, renters and Mother Kittredge alike. With all her money, and her husband, gone, Mrs. Kittredge faces the loss of her house. Kit faces the fact that the prime suspects in the theft are hobo kids she as befriended -- Will (Max Thieriot) and Countee (Willow Smith) who barter work for food in the neighborhood.

Can Kit Kittredge: An American Girl solve the crimes, exonerate her friends, and save her house from the clutches of the Liberal Savings Bank? Yeah, well, we grew up on several dozen Hardy Boys novels. The hero always figures out the mystery, even if it comes way too easy for them in the story. That's the case here and it's something that would be noticeable only to, say, a grown-up critic watching the film with a jaundiced (and Hardy Boys tainted) eye. We sat for the film is a screening room filled with girls, little and otherwise, who had read the book or knew the stories, and they were squealing with delight. We put nothing past these youngsters. We had no problem sitting and enoying the film.

Though we normally rate movies on  a scale of one to One to Ten Bucks [aka an averaged ticket price] we don't do that with family oriented films. Either they work for the kids or the adults and we make that distinction with a simple thumbs up or down (thanks to a reader named Ebert! Hope your recovery goes well.) Kit Kittredge: An American Girl is one of those rare occurences in which a film works for both.

Thumbs up.

amazon com link Click to buy films by Patricia Rozema
Click to buy films starring Abigail Breslin
Click to buy films starring Julia Ormond
Click Here!

The Cranky Critic website is Copyright © 1995  -  2017  by Chuck Schwartz. Articles by Paul Fischer are Copyright © 1999 - 2006 Paul Fischer. All images, unless otherwise noted, are property of,©, ®, their respective studios and are used by permission. All Rights Reserved. Not to be used or copied for any commercial purpose. Academy Award(s) and Oscar®(s) are registered trademarks and service marks of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.