I guess Emma Roberts' more memorable role was taking on the iconic Nancy Drew character, but now she exchanges those sleuthing skills and good manners for spoilt brat antics. Swinging from one end of the spectrum of an ideal kid to a spoilt and bratty one, her Poppy Moore character in Wild Child is a rich kid who has issues with discipline because she thinks she could get her way with her devil may care attitude and wads of cash. With her relationship with her father going to the doldrums, she gets shipped off to an English boarding school in an effort to be schooled in the prim and proper, and thus sets up plenty of room for your typical fish out of water story.
Naturally as the loner who stands out because of her rather uncouth behaviour and fashion sense, this was somewhat a throw back to The House Bunny, where the protagonist is clearly out of place, and remains to be seen if it is herself who would be assimilated into the norm, or if she could be the trendsetter and begin a serious case of behavioural osmosis.
For starters, this is clearly chick flick territory, with all characters being girls (it's set in an all girls boarding school) and the only male supporting characters happened to be her dad (Aidan Quinn), the school principal's son Freddie (Alex Pettyfer) for romantic purposes, and Nick Frost who cameos as a small town hairstylist. So you can imagine the amount of bitching that would go around in the film, where Poppy offends the head student on her first day on multiple fronts, thereby starting off some serious personal vendetta issues. Or how Poppy is initially unwelcome by everyone in her dormitory because her stubbornness got them all detention, before they decide to assist her in a win-win situation - getting her expelled so that she could return home.
Wild Child is surprisingly entertaining with a good story to tell, even though it's the usual about having friends for life versus the superficial ones that one tend to meet from time to time. I guess for parents this could be one of those child-safe movies to bring their kids to, and hopefully to have some of its positive messages like responsibility and discipline rub off on their kids. Written by Lucy Dahl, daughter of the renowned Roald Dahl, that credit alone provided some interest in this movie, despite the story and plot development being nothing unusual and being very predictable.
But I guess predictability could still work if the ensemble cast delivered their roles convincingly, which they do, and with any movie that deals with friendship and one targetted at children, this is as plain sailing a movie as it can get - nobody dies, everyone becomes friends, tense situations get diffused amicably, and there's plenty of BFF-love to go around.