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AQUAMARINE

SYNOPSIS:
Thirteen year old best friends Claire (Emma Roberts) and Hailey (Joanna 'JoJo Levesque) share everything, including a crush on the local lifeguard Raymond Calder (Jake McDorman). But they are about to be separated, as Hailey's marine biologist mother (Claudia Karvan) has been offered an assignment in Australia. One night after a violent storm, the girls discover a beautiful mermaid called Aquamarine (Sara Paxton) in the Florida beach club swimming pool, where Claire lives with her grandparents (Julie Blake, Roy Billing). Aquamarine has swum away from her arranged marriage, and has three days to prove to her father that love is real. She quickly sets her sights on Raymond, and enlists Claire and Hailey's help, whose relationship expertise is limited to teenage magazines.

Review by Louise Keller:
Love is the closest thing we have to magic, says Joanna 'JoJo' Levesque's Hailey, when trying to describe love to Sara Paxton's recently grounded mermaid Aquamarine. With its outstanding performances from Levesque and Emma Roberts, Aquamarine is magical family fare with central themes of friendship, infatuation and growing up. Adapted from the novel by Alice Hoffman, it's sweet without being saccharine and funny in a sincere kind of way. Not only teenage girls will be drawn to this fresh and entertaining coming of age fantasy, that canvasses hopes and dreams and uplifts us in the process.

We first meet Claire and Hailey under a blue striped beach umbrella, stealing glances at the object of their king-size crush, teenage lifeguard Raymond (Jake McDorman), who is 'sitting looking gorgeous, waiting for someone to rescue.' Refreshingly, the girls look and act like pre-pubescent girls, as they giggle and sigh, fantasising about true love. When they discover the beautiful and idealistic mermaid Aquamarine (Sara Paxton), they only agree to school her on impressing Raymond, when she promises to grant them a wish. Their obsession with Raymond is quickly put into perspective; their wish to keep their own special friendship is far more important. There's a shopping spree and various tactics inspired by teenage magazines to make Raymond notice the blue-eyed blonde whose shapely two legs are replaced by an impressive turquoise scaled tail each day at sunset. (Aquamarine's nail and toe polish changes colour depending on her mood)

Shot on the Gold Coast by a mostly Australian crew and featuring Claudia Karvan and Bruce Spence in minor but important roles, Animal Logic is responsible for the effective, yet understated special effects. The storyline dives deeper than expected with resolutions surfacing naturally and never feeling forced. Aquamarine discovers the magic of love, while Claire and Hailey start the inevitable first step to growing up and realising that there is more going for real life than fantasy.

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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 1
Unfavourable: 0
Mixed: 0

AQUAMARINE (PG)
(US, 2006)

CAST: Emma Roberts, Joanna 'JoJo' Levesque, Sara Paxton, Jake McDorman, Arielle Kebbel, Claudia Karvan, Bruce Spence, Tammin Sursok, Roy Billing, Julia Blake, Shaun Micallef

PRODUCER: Susan Cartsonis

DIRECTOR: Elizabeth Allen

SCRIPT: John Quaintance, (Novel by Alice Hoffman)

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Brian J. Breheny

EDITOR: Jane Moran

MUSIC: David Hirschfelder

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Nelson Coates

RUNNING TIME: 104 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: 20th Century Fox

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: September 28, 2006

VIDEO DISTRIBUTOR: 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment

VIDEO RELEASE: January 24, 2007







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