Nancy Drew is feel-good, family film candy, a totally seamless product of the big-budget movie-making machine. Emma Roberts delivers a pitch-perfect performance as the neurotically determined, earnest title character, and her co-stars utilize exactly the level of camp required to glue this half-50s-throwback, half-Hollywood parody together.
Instead of updating the post-war sleuth, the filmmakers cast her as an anachronism in her 21st-century La La Land surroundings and use her as a vehicle to make fun of themselves. For example, Nancy's fawning underage sidekick, Corky, claims "there was no action in middle school, so my dad made a few calls" and when Nancy follows a lead without explanation, her fashionista nemesis, Inga, complains, "This is so non-linear."
As is her charm, single-minded Nancy remains undeterred and often oblivious to the taunts of her more modern peers, as well as the attentions of her devoted love interest, Ned, and in the end, of course, triumphs because of her eccentricity. Don't expect the profound or groundbreaking, but if you're in the mood for something that goes down like Tasty Delite and leaves you with the same grin on your face and bounce in your step, this is the movie for you.