Harriet the Spy

Starring: Rosie O'Donnell, Michelle Trachtenberg and Eartha Kitt
Paramount Home Entertainment
RRP: £15.99

Certificate: PG
Available now

Harriet M. Welsch is probably the world's most accomplished 11-year-old spy. Harriet dreams of being a writer, and her nanny and best friend Golly told her to start by writing down everything she sees. It's all in good fun until Harriet's friends find her secret spy notebook. They don't like what Harriet's written. And they don't like Harriet that much, either. Can Harriet win back her friends, or is she doomed to be an outsider, a rejected writer and forgotten spy?...

As a film Harriet the Spy never seems sure of where it is going. There seem to be too many false starts and in truth this feels like a collection of short stories. There is Harriet the attention seeker, whose parents are distant and she bonds with her nanny instead; Then there is Harriet the bitch, when it is revealed that her spy notebook is full of nasty comments about her fellow pupils and friends; And finally we are shown Harriet the success.

Sadly this doesn't work as well as it should do and so the audience is left unsure as to whether Harriet is a likeable character or not. Another problem is the fact that the title is way off! Harriet the Spy? Surely Harriet the Writer or Harriet the Observer would have been a better title. Okay, maybe not as sexy, but then people who buy this expecting a mini James Bond are going to be a little annoyed.

While the acting is faultless, especially from the children, there is just not enough to keep kids watching for the duration. Where is the mystery, the action, the adventure... the story? Sadly disappointing.

Nick Smithson

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