A mermaid with a crush is a force to be reckoned with. That’s what audiences find out in “Aquamarine” (Fox), a movie with more giddy girliness than a teenage slumber party.
Based on the popular young adult novel by Alice Hoffman, “Aquamarine” tells the story of two best friends Claire (Emma Roberts, star of Nickelodeon’s “Unfabulous” and niece of Julia Roberts) and Hailey (Joanna Levesque, otherwise known as singer JoJo) who are spending their last summer together before Hailey must follow her mother to Australia.
The day after a horrible storm, Claire and Hailey are shocked to discover a mermaid in the swimming pool of the Capri Beach Club in Baybridge, Fla. Their new aquatic friend, Aquamarine (frequent sitcom guest Sara Paxton), has come ashore for three days to escape an arranged marriage and prove to her doubtful merman father that love exists.
Aqua – who can lose her fins in the daylight – immediately decides to make attractive lifeguard Raymond (newcomer Jake McDorman), the apple of all of the human girls’ eyes, fall in love with her. She persuades Claire and Hailey to help her find love with Raymond and prove her father wrong by promising them a wish – which the girls agree to do, so that they can wish for Hailey to stay in Florida. The girls run into trouble hiding Aqua after sunset when she turns into a mermaid again, and avoiding the mean popular clique of girls that constantly tease Claire and Hailey and attempt to sabotage Aqua’s chances with Raymond.
The always-confident Aquamarine teaches Claire and Hailey not to be afraid of being themselves and to try new things while Aqua learns the true meaning of love from her time as a human. The movie is amusing when Aqua is trying to adapt to human life, but many jokes such as Aqua’s “shell phone,” and when she binges on Phish Food ice cream and declares that her new loves are Ben and Jerry, are expected and unoriginal.
Roberts and Levesque give realistic performances, but some of the silly dialogue and the unnecessarily dramatic moments make it hard to take them seriously. The upbeat soundtrack features tracks by Mandy Moore, Teddy Geiger and the film’s stars, Paxton and Roberts, while JoJo’s music is surprisingly absent from the film.
“Aquamarine” can best be described as “cute” and appropriate for younger girls, or those looking for some lighter fare as midterms and beachy spring break vacations approach.
“Aquamarine” hits theaters nationwide on Friday.