'Wild Child' Review: Emma Roberts Doesn't Play A Convincing Brat

Wild Childreview Emma Roberts Doesnt Play Convincing Brat

It's always pretty easy to tell which of ABC Family's Original Movies were actually made for the channel, and which are castoffs meant for theatrical release but never got to the big screen for some reason or another. 'Wild Child,' the Emma Roberts -starring film about Poppy, a bratty, rebellious California girl who’s sent to a boarding school in England, is one of the latter — more professional-looking than, say, last month's ' Revenge of the Bridesmaids ,' but also much less campy and, ultimately, less fun.

Emma just seems too sweet to play such a brat — she isn’t terribly convincing much of the time, in fact, she gets quite annoying and grating — even one who is clearly acting out over her mother's death. But I suppose that’s the point ... she’s a nice girl, underneath some truly awful hair extensions and her, like, totally awesome Cali accent. I’d much prefer her to embrace her inner mean girl and really commit.

The girls Poppy meets at boarding school are a nice supporting cast, not too wacky and ultimately the main reason she comes back down to Earth. Of course, she also has help from the way-too-understanding headmistress, played by Natasha Richardson in her final role, and the headmistress’ super-hot son, played by a pre- Beastly Alex Pettyfer .

Of course, in the end, once Poppy realizes how much she likes the school (after a semester spent trying to sabotage her way into expulsion), she finds out that her late mother went there as a girl, too. A sweet ending for an OK-spent couple of hours. The final verdict: Eh .

Did you catch Wild Child last night? Were you underwhelmed too?