Insidepulse DVD Review – Aquamarine

Directed by
Elizabeth Allen

Writing credits (WGA)
John Quaintance and Jessica Bendinger
Alice Hoffman (novel)

Cast
Emma Roberts …. Claire
JoJo …. Hailey
Sara Paxton …. Aquamarine
Jake McDorman …. Raymond
Arielle Kebbel …. Cecilia
Claudia Karvan …. Ginny
Bruce Spence …. Leonard
Tammin Sursok …. Marjorie
Roy Billing …. Grandpa Bob
Julia Blake …. Grandma Maggie
Shaun Micallef …. Storm Banks


DVD Release Date: June 13th
Rated: PG
Running Time: 103 minutes

The Movie

Aquamarine wants to know what love is. Bum bum bum bum, she wants you to show her…

Sara Paxton plays the titular mermaid in this teen girl fantasy-comedy starring Emma Roberts as Claire and something called Jo-Jo (not the dog-faced boy) as Hailey. Claire and Hailey spend their summertime living on the beach, stalking the emo-haircutted life guard Raymond, and whatever it is 14 year old girls do. I have this defense mechanism wherein my brain, in an effort to protect itself, makes me incapable of listening to teenage girls speaking for more than 30 seconds at a time. (Closed captions come in handy when one’s unpaid career as a film critic is threatened by such a handicap.)

Anyway, the friendship between the two girls is jeopardized when Hailey’s marine-biologist mom accepts a fancy new job which will move the family from Tampa To Australia. Luckily for them, a storm washes up a mermaid named Aquamarine. Aquamarine has a shellphone, talking starfish earrings, nails and fins change color according to her moods, and develops legs when she is dry during the day.

Aqua has a couple of days to prove to her father that love is not a myth. Her timeline, fortunately coincides with the timeline of Hailey’s move to Australia, so the girls attempt to help Haley out by tricking Raymond into falling in love with her… Or something. I guess Mermaids give wishes if you help them.

The whole thing is filmed with all the art and style of an episode of “Saved by the Bell” where they worked at the beach resort. The story walks the tightrope of not making a dang bit of sense yet still being predictable. Aquamarine also does it’s damndest to shove a soundtrack down our throats, and fill screen time with every cliche girl-movie scene shy of “crying naked in the shower.” (She cries in a bubble bath.)

But Sara Paxton is able to make her psychotic perkiness charming, coming off like a younger likeable version of Jenny McCarthy or Brit Murphy. And overall, it is hard to be too angry with a movie that tries to help young girls with issues of self esteem and whose big messages include stuff like “have some empathy for your mom.”

STORY: 3/10
ACTING: 5/10
ORIGINALITY: 2/10
LOOK/FEEL: 4/10
ENTERTAINMENT VALUE: 5/10
TOTAL POINTS: 19/50
FINAL SCORE: 4/10

The DVD

Packaging: Standard clamshell with a chapter list and a special features menu. There is also a pull out ad for random teen and family movies.

Tech Stuff: Looks and sounds fine. Side A has the fullscreen, Side B has the widescreen and special features. both sides contain the same commentary tracks.

Commentary by Director Elizabeth Allen and Producer Susan Cartsonis: An unholy commentary track that is ridiculously entertaining if you are very tired. It starts out by pointing out continuity errors and gets more surreal from there. The two women sound a lot like that old NPR sketch from “SNL” both in voice and syntax. Good times. Yeah.

Scene Specific Commentary by Cast: Our three female protagonists talk over 7 of their favorite scenes. You can choose to play them individually or suffer through them all at once.

Introduction by the Director: Nothing terribly special here.

Six Totally Deleted Scenes: They are referred to as “totally deleted” on the disc. Cut from the film is a fart joke, a bathroom joke, and a couple of things that fill in some plot holes. They are all very, very short.

Awesome Auditions Featurette: 5 minutes of audition footage. Probably as interesting as the movie proper.

Building the Capri Club Featurette: A couple of minutes on set building.

Mermaid Makeover Featurette: A couple of minutes on how to glue scales onto a teenage girl, and they explain something called a “green screen.”

It’s All About the Fashion Featurette: Again, just a couple of minutes about the actors’ wardrobes and what it says about their characters.

Aqua Squeals Featurette: Introduced by a Dolphin, the whole thing lasts a minute and consists of odd noises made by Sara Paxton during the movie and filming. She sighs and squeals and such and listening to it makes me feel a little perv-y.

Kickin’ It On Set Featurette: Five minutes worth of gag reel. Kinda funny.

Easter Egg: On the last special feature menu, highlight the starfish. You get about 3 minutes of the three main girls ask Australian teens questions like: “Why don’t boys call when they say they’re going to?”

DVD Score: 7/10