Daughter of Eric and niece of Julia, 15-year-old Emma Roberts already has her own Nickelodeon series, 'Unfabulous', and 'Aquamarine' casts her opposite two other rising teenage stars: Joanna 'JoJo' Levesque and Sara Paxton. Based on the Alice Hoffman book of the same name, it's a pleasant movie for kids, but not one that you'd commit to memory.
With summer drawing to a close, inseparable friends Claire (Roberts) and Hailey (Levesque) have more to face up to than just no more days at the beach eyeing lifeguard Raymond (McDorman). Hailey is reluctantly emigrating with her divorced marine biologist mother to Australia and Claire, who lost both her parents in a boating accident, seems unable to face up to life without her.
One night during a storm they make up a spell to keep Hailey in Florida - and get more than they bargained for the next morning. Hiding in Claire's grandparents' pool is Aquamarine (Paxton), a mermaid with problems of her own. She's due to be married against her will and the only way she can get out of the arranged marriage is to convince her father that she really knows what love is. So, Aquamarine makes a deal with the girls: she'll grant their wish for Hailey to stay in Florida if they can help her fall in love. And that's where Raymond comes in.
Roberts, Levesque and Paxton all do good work together in this film, but they're hampered by a script that needed more laughs and less sugar. And while the film doesn't shy away from giving Claire and Hailey grown-up problems to face, the writers could've also worked some more dramatic scenes between the duo into the film.
That, however, could be just a grumpy boy's perspective as 'Aquamarine' ticks plenty of boxes for its target audience and ends pretty much as they'd expect, with self-confidence restored, independence reborn and calm waters. Like their characters, for Roberts, Levesque and Paxton even brighter things lie ahead.