There is a long list of Hollywoods best demeaning themselves in front of a camera as soon as their own little moppets come of age to start staring at the silver screen. From the legendary Bill Murray to the, well just the, Ice Cube the cry to cover their collective backs is "I'm not selling out! I just want to do a film my kids can watch!" Now Jodie Foster is the latest gurning face to try and please her offspring with unothordox parenting. My folks never appeared in multi million dollar movies to cheer me up. That may explain a lot.
Nim (Abigail Breslin) lives on an island with her dad (Gerard Butler) and an assortment of live action and CGI animals, all of whom are self aware (even Gerard Butler although how he could have chosen to make P.S. I Love You if he was remains a mystery). When pops goes missing in a storm Nim writes to Alex Rider, an Indiana Jones-esque fictional character, for help. What she gets is writer Alexandra Rider (Jodie Foster), an agrophobe with shades of OCD. Unsuprisingly Jodie comes through and helps Nim.
While the main idea of having a little girl left alone on an island might have the McCanns winning parents of the year there is a half decent amount of danger in the concept. The problem is the film never really fulfils this danger. By danger I don't mean the predatory emails that Alex Rider sends. For example, one such electronic message worryingly asks how old Nim is and whether she's alone, I'd like to beleive that would be flagged instantly. No the danger I mean is suspense, drama, a feeling that all might not be okay in the end.
I think that Oscar nomination may have gone to Abigails head as she seems patronisingly adult. Gerard, or Geraaaard as the trailer calls him, plays dual roles reasonably well. As mentioned before Jodie gurns and mugs for all she's worth, but shes worth a fair bit so we'll let her off. But if I see one more falling over on a treadmill gag this year I may be forced to go on a stabby stabby rampage. Overall when it comes to kids films if its not adult enough I switch off. And I think, paradoxically, so do kids. I'm not suggesting sit the little ones in front of the Saw Trilogy but more Holes and Bridge to Terrabithias please. Less twee, safe tosh.