Madeline

  • 1998
  • Movie
  • PG
  • Adventure, Children's, Comedy

Tolerable kiddie entertainment based on Ludwig Bemelmans' beloved series of books, this adaptation falls somewhere between the genteel charm of the original and the crude, anarchic humor of contemporary children's comedy at its dopiest. Madeline (Hatty Jones), as legions of little girls, their mothers and their mother's mothers already know, is a pint-sized...read more

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Reviewed by Ken Fox
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Tolerable kiddie entertainment based on Ludwig Bemelmans' beloved series of books, this adaptation falls somewhere between the genteel charm of the original and the crude, anarchic humor of contemporary children's comedy at its dopiest. Madeline (Hatty Jones), as legions of little girls, their mothers and their mother's mothers already know, is a pint-sized Parisian orphan. She and 11 other identically dressed little girls board at a Catholic school run by the firm but loving Miss Clavel (Frances McDormand), whose sixth sense for

impending disaster serves her well, particularly when it comes to the fearless Madeline. She's stricken with appendicitis, tumbles into the Seine, gets herself kidnapped along with the Spanish ambassador's son Pepito (Kristian De La Osa) -- a "bad hat" if ever there was one -- and conspires with

the rest of the girls to help save their school from being sold by its curmudgeonly owner (Nigel Hawthorne). Director Daisy von Scherler Mayer, who scored a modest success with her first film (PARTY GIRL), then blew it on her second (WOO), shuffles four of Bemelmans' six Madeline stories together and deals a messy hand. The result is fast-paced, uneven and occasionally aggravating. But pumpkin-faced Jones is awfully cute, McDormand and Hawthorne manage to maintain their dignity and the bold primary-color scheme captures some of the spirit of the book's illustrations. And there are worse role models than Madeline: She's confident, brave, and able to leap any obstacle with a single, well-aimed "pooh pooh." If your kids are old enough to request HARRIET THE SPY by name, you may want to spring this one on them.

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  • Released: 1998
  • Rating: PG
  • Review: Tolerable kiddie entertainment based on Ludwig Bemelmans' beloved series of books, this adaptation falls somewhere between the genteel charm of the original and the crude, anarchic humor of contemporary children's comedy at its dopiest. Madeline (Hatty Jon… (more)

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