Familiar in feel but lifted by its execution, Wild Child
finds Emma Roberts--she of Nancy Drew
fame--in the lead role as Poppy. Poppy is, as the title of the film hints, not the most well behaved of young ladies, and this leads her father (played by Aidan Quinn) to promptly send her across the water to boarding school in England. Thus, the stage is set for lots of culture clash comedy, and a genial little movie aimed at teenage girls. The strengths of Wild Child
lie firmly in its cast, who happily make the most of the generally slight material. Roberts, who has to make the transformation from selfish brat to more rounded and generally pleasant human being, is on fine form, while Georgia King offers good support too. There are notable turns too from Alex Pettyfer (remember him from Stormbreaker
?), Daisy Donovan and Natasha Richardson. Wild Child
’s plot inevitably injects a romance angle, and treads heavily on clichés as it attempts to wring out what laughs and entertainment it can from the material. But for its target audience, you suspect it pretty much hits the bullseye. It might not be a film with much edge to it, but there is a solid hour and a half’s entertainment here. --Jon Foster
Teen comedy. When pampered LA princess Poppy Moore (Emma Roberts) is sent off to a strict English boarding school after pushing her indulgent father too far with an over-the-top prank, she decides to do everything she can to get expelled from the school as quickly as possible - including snogging the son of the headmistress, Mrs Kingsley (Natasha Richardson). But would the rebellious Poppy really go so far as to burn down the entire school to get her way?