Alice Upside Down: The Movie (DVD Review)22 Jun, 2008 By: Anne Sherber
Prebook 6/26/08; Street 7/29/08
Stars Alyson Stoner, Lucas Grabeel, Luke Perry, Penny Marshall, Ashley Drane, Parker McKenna Posey.
Walter Mitty goes to middle school in this well-told story of adolescent angst.
Based on Phyllis Reynolds Naylor's popular young-adult book series, Alice Upside Down is the story of a pre-teen girl whose mother has died and whose father and brother, though well-meaning, are not always well-equipped to help Alice as she turns into a young woman.
The family moves to a new city so Alice's father can open a music store. But that also requires Alice to attend a new school where she knows no one. Dropped into the jungle that is an unfamiliar middle school, Alice's vivid imagination takes over. For each difficult situation she encounters, she envisions a scenario in which she ends up the heroine.
Unfortunately, real life is a little rockier. Alice's flights of fancy bear no resemblance to the confusing reality she faces daily.
Stoner (Cheaper by the Dozen), as the somewhat disheveled, somewhat belligerent Alice, is a very convincingly confused adolescent. Former teen heartthrob Perry is surprisingly effective as Alice's bewildered father, trying to recover from his wife's death while still caring for his children. The biggest surprise is Marshall as a demanding teacher who, it turns out, is very motherly.
Alice Upside Down is a surprisingly un-sugarcoated look at the ups and downs of early adolescence in which both boys and girls of a certain age will see themselves. Fans of the book series will certainly enjoy this film. But even kids unfamiliar with the source material will find a lot to like here.