For hundreds of years we have been fascinated with the nautical myth that there are beings in the oceans who are ½ fish and ½ woman. They are always young, beautiful, and completely naïve. Some classic films have captivated this obsession. The first, biggest, and most memorable film was the classic 1984 comedy Splash, which really brought the myth back into the fore-front of our minds. Next was 1989's The Little Mermaid, which stole our hearts and re-launched Disney's animation division.
Probably the most obscure reference and the most bizarre use of the mermaid myth was used in the short-lived TV series, Maximum Bob, where an ultra right-wing judge (Beau Bridges) marries a psychic mermaid-performer (Kiersten Warren). There are a lot of scenes with Warren in an aquarium and dressed in her fish tail. It was a strangely appealing little show.
Then there was 2001's horror film, She Creature, which starred a rather evil and scheming mermaid. And that's all I will ever say about that film ever again. Write me if you have to know more.
Okay, I have covered the biggest to the most obscure in mermaid films, which brings me to Aquamarine.
Aquamarine is a light-hearted preteen comedy about a naïve mermaid, Aquamarine (Sara Paxton), who comes ashore to uncover the human myth called love. Helping her in finding this mythical emotion are two best friends, Claire and Hailey (Emma Roberts and JoJo), who befriend the mermaid. It turns out that the friends may be separated forever when Hailey moves away. Aquamarine promises them a wish if they help her find true love, so the girls, desperate to stay together, help her out.
This film is probably not a classic or will be fondly remembered in five years, but for the audience it is aimed at it succeeds on many levels. I liked the performances of Emma Roberts and Sara Paxton. I even warmed up to JoJo a little.
What I kept saying as the film went on was how these three girls looked like junior versions of established actors. I felt that Paxton reminded me a lot of a younger Reese Witherspoon and Roberts reminded me some of her aunt, Julia Roberts. JoJo did also remind me of Lindsay Lohan, but there isn't much of an age difference between them so you can't really say junior version.
I think that Paxton and Roberts have a lot of potential in their Hollywood careers. Given time, they could become as successful as their older look-a-likes. JoJo could have a career in film, but does she have the ability to manage music and film like say, Hilary Duff? We know Britney couldn't handle it. So only time will tell for JoJo.
Aquamarine is a great little film if you have girls who are between 8 and 15, but other than that I can't really recommend it to anyone else. But you have to give it marks for succeeding so well in a pinch demographic. (3.5 out of 5) So Says the Soothsayer.