Lately, I’ve been wondering out loud about what will happen to these over-produced teen pop stars who are thrown all this media exposure by their parents (to the point of exploitation). When are we going to start seeing some Playboy or Maxim photo shoots? When are we going to see someone on Cinemax After Dark, or even Night Calls? I mean, it’s obvious at this point that Ashley Simpson can’t sing, and she’s starting to look more and more like her sister in an attempt to become her, without the appeal. And since there’s a rumor floating around that she turned down a multimillion dollar Playboy photo shoot (after the proverbial “great deal of thought”), it seems to be the next logical step.
Enter Joanna Levesque (RV), a.k.a. “Jojo”. I don’t know what song she’s famous for, I don’t know what she’s doing lately, but I know she’s been thrown a lot at MTV and Nickelodeon for whatever reason. I know this because I watch copious amounts of both. She plays Hailey in Aquamarine, a bit of a tomboy and a close friend of Claire (Emma Roberts, Blow), who is the granddaughter (I think) of owners of a beach club of some sort, and they both seem to have a crush on Raymond (Jake McDorman, Echoes of Innocence), a local life guard and resident teen hunk.
Things are a little more complicated than they seem, as Hailey is moving away with her mother, but things also change in a drastic way when the girls find a mermaid named Aquamarine (Sara Paxton, Sleepover) who wants to fall in love with Raymond, and will give the girls one wish for helping her, because you get one when you help a mermaid, don’t you know that? Written by John Quaintance (Joey) and Jessica Bendinger (First Daughter) and directed by Elizabeth Allen, Aquamarine worked a lot better the first time I saw a mermaid film, when Tom Hanks, John Candy and Daryl Hannah were in it. Now don’t get me wrong, it’s cool to see Bruce Spence (The Road Warrior) in ANY film nowadays, but the target demographic for this film is more than obvious to me; it’s geared towards young pre-teen girls, which I am none of at this point in my life, and young pre-teen girls deserve far better material than this to cozy up to.
Well, there’s a Dolby 5.1 soundtrack, but the sound is so artificial that it’s not even funny. Seriously, over half of the movie sounds like it’s been put through some type of ADR with all of the main cast. The sea effects sound good, but nothing to get riled up over.
1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen love, but the review copy boasts a fullscreen version that even if it was included, I wouldn’t watch it. Everything looks bad here, bordering on blown out. A lot of these scenes have some form of pixelation on them, and it really got distracting to watch. This is far from reference quality.
For such an unendurable movie, there’s a pretty good amount of extras that come with it. Starting things off, there’s a commentary with Allen and producer Susan Cartsonis, and the pair talk about shooting the film in Australia (hence the Spence role I’m assuming) and the production in general, and wound up being better than I anticipated. The girls have some scene specific commentaries that last about a half hour in length, and there are featurettes that cover the production, audition footage and some deleted scenes that were understandable excisions.
Aquamarine was a pretty forgettable film, but there’s people that go to see this stuff, and it’s a good movie for your younger sisters in law to see, and maybe even pick up.