If the blonde, tanned American teen that exclaims “ewww” at everything non-artificial sets your teeth on edge, then this surprisingly enjoyable teen comedy will see you mentally patting the filmmakers and writer Lucy Dahl, (Roald‘s daughter), on the back for parading those shallow girls (and boys) as the unattractive product of peer pressure that they are.
In an impressive performance, Julia Roberts’s niece Emma plays California girl Poppy Moore whose wild and reckless, attention-seeking behaviour is everything you imagine of a spoilt Malibu-raised kid.
After threatening to pack her off to England numerous times, her widowed father (Aidan Quinn) is finally pushed too far and keeps to his word, sending her to some girls boarding school in pretty rural England, that appears to be within driving distance of Yorkshire’s Haworth and Robin Hood’s Bay if my location-spotting radar is working.
A brat of the highest degree, Poppy’s ewws about the weather and high regard for the impractical clothes she’s brought with her don’t impress the Brit girls one bit, but they’re a good-hearted bunch, and when a horse-faced bully sets out to make Poppy’s life hell, they show their new friend what true friendship is all about.
Loaded with wit and charm this movie is an easy watch and as well as being an amusing culture clash comedy it’s a wonderful portrayal of the average sweet teenager that exists under all the superficiality.
And yes, there is the obligatory love interest storyline.
The film also stars the late Natasha Richardson in her final film role, as no-nonsense headmistress Mrs Kinglsey.
So teen gals, listen up – you may well be fixating on achieving that Barbie look but FYI: you’re much more attractive when you’re being yourself!
Maybe this entertaining movie will provide food for thought for teens both here in the UK, and across the pond.
Wild Child is showing on Sky Movies Premiere today at 10 am and 8pm, and at varying times throughout the week.