AQUAMARINE (Elizabeth Allen, 2006)
A storm washes a mermaid ashore just in time to assist best friends forever Claire (Emma Roberts) and Hailey (JoJo) in AQUAMARINE. Hailey’s mom has accepted a job in Australia, and the impending move is wrecking the girls’ summer. Along comes Aquamarine (Sara Paxton), a teenage mermaid who is swept from the ocean into a beach club pool during a nasty storm. Aquamarine believes in true love and needs to prove its existence so she can avoid an arranged marriage. If Claire and Hailey can help her, she can grant them a wish.
Aquamarine sets her designs on Claire and Hailey’s lifeguard crush Raymond (Jake McDorman). She has just three days to win his affection and get him to proclaim his love for her before her father summons her home. The task is complicated by the fact that Aquamarine can only have legs while the sun is up. Even then she can’t get them wet.
AQUAMARINE is an agreeable comedy that should appeal to middle school girls curious and worried about the transition to adolescence. It’s all about shopping sprees, puppy love, and youthful insecurity. This tween fantasy plays to its audience without insulting them. Positive qualities aside, AQUAMARINE generates little enthusiasm other than its ability to cater to an underserved audience. Aquamarine is Claire and Hailey’s surrogate, but she acts less mature than her new friends. There’s some humor in her following the advice that Claire and Hailey have gleaned from magazines, but most of it plays out like standard sitcom fodder.
Except for a few puns, relatively little is done with the remarkable fact that there’s a mermaid in their midst. The tired fairy tale device of Aquamarine having to rush off as the sun is ready to set is too much of a driving factor as well. AQUAMARINE is pleasant enough and perfect for its target demographic, but it’s a run of the mill movie that wouldn’t stand out among the various cable TV offerings for its audience.