Be careful what you wish for in book adaptation

Russel Brand brings his in-your-face style to the role of villain in this children

Four Kids and It, a variation on E. Nesbitt’s famous book, is a film for a younger audience despite having some star-quality cameos for adults. Source: ACOFB.

A question is how well will older children identify with the two girls at the centre of the story, Ros (Teddie-Rose Malleson-Allen and British) and Samantha, known as Smash (Ashley Aufderheide, American). Smash comes across often as the wilful and spoilt brat. Ros can be disagreeable in a quietly British way. The little brother and sister, Robbie, British, and Maudie, American, are much more agreeable.

The title will remind readers of children’s books and those who saw the 2005 film, Five Children and It, based on the E. Nesbitt story, will soon find that this is, quite simply, a variation on the original book. Four children this time, two parents, and the It, a rather playful small creature, who lives in the sand, swimming, burrowing, collecting all kinds of offerings and storing them in the sand, Psammead – and, for parents watching and listening, quite a surprise that, when Psammead speaks, it sounds like Michael Caine with all his voice and intonations. And it is.

The background of the film is that the British father, David, played by Matthew Goode, is looking after his children because his wife has left them to go to find herself in university life. For the American mother, Alice, Paula Patton, her husband has left her and has taken up life in the Seychelles. When both families arrive for a holiday in Cornwall, the two girls discover to their dismay that the parents have been seeing each other and that this is an experiment to see how well they get on.

Down on the beach, Psammead makes itself known, stealing things, pulling them under the sand. However, he is a pleasant creature and his gift is to grant one wish per day, ending at sunset. Which means then for the delight of the children’s audience, there are the stories of the wishes.

Naturally, there has to be a villain. This time it is an eccentric in a local Manor, played by Russell Brand, in a very Russell Brand in-your-face kind of way, who has his wishes as well.

Not sure whether the adult audiences will like this film as much as the children will.

Reviewed by Peter Malone MSC, ACOFB.

Four Kids and It: Starring Teddie-Rose Malleson-Allen, Ashley Aufderheide, Matthew Goode, Paula Patton, Billy Jenkins, Ellie-Mae Siame, Russell Brand, Michael Caine. Directed by Andy de Emmonny. 110 minutes. Rated PG (Mild themes and violence)

Released September 17

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Four Kids and It (ACOFB)

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